Cigarette smoking as a target for potentiating outcomes for methamphetamine abuse treatment


Matthew Brensilver PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Keith G. Heinzerling MD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Aimee-Noelle Swanson PhD, Assistant Research Sociologist, Donatello Telesca MS, PhD, Assistant Professor, Benjamin A. Furst MD, Attending Physician, Steven J. Shoptaw PhD, Professor and Vice Dean. Dr Matthew Brensilver, 10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1800, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA. Tel: +1 914 589 6470; Fax: +1 310 794 2808; E-mail:


Introduction and Aims. Cigarette smoking occurs frequently among individuals with methamphetamine (MA) dependence. Preclinical and clinical evidence has suggested that the common co-abuse of MA and cigarettes represents a pharmacologically meaningful pattern.

Methods. The present study is a secondary analysis of a randomised, placebo-controlled trial of bupropion treatment for MA dependence (bupropion n = 36; placebo n = 37). A hierarchical logistic modelling approach assessed the efficacy of bupropion for reducing MA use separately among smokers and non-smokers. Among smokers, relations between cigarettes smoked and MA use were assessed.

Results. Smoking status did not affect treatment responsiveness in either the bupropion condition or the placebo condition. In the placebo condition, increased cigarette use was associated with an increased probability of MA use during the same time period. This effect was not observed in the bupropion condition.

Discussion and Conclusions. Initial smoking status did not impact treatment outcomes. Among smokers, results suggest that bupropion may dissociate cigarette and MA use. The effect was modest and a precise pharmacological mechanism remains elusive. Cholinergic systems may be relevant for MA use outcomes. Future studies should continue to assess the role of smoking in MA treatment outcomes.[Brensilver M, Heinzerling KG, Swanson A-N, Telesca D, Furst BA, Shoptaw SJ. Cigarette smoking as a target for potentiating outcomes for methamphetamine abuse treatment. Drug Alcohol Rev 2013;32:96–99]