Methamphetamine use has increased in the US and worldwide in the past years resulting in greater frequency and severity of related medical problems. Yet, no medicines with a medically-acceptable balance of effectiveness and side effects have been discovered. While the brain chemical transmitter dopamine plays a major role in the pleasurable reinforcing and psychomotor stimulant effects of amphetamines, the transmitters norepinephrine and serotonin also contribute substantially to these effects. Recent evidence suggests that the functional links that exist between norepinephrine and serotonin systems may be profoundly important in methamphetamine effects and dependence. However, these neurotransmitter systems have not been tested as extensively as targets of pharmacologic interventions. This application proposes interrelated human studies to determine whether medicines that block norepinephrine action, serotonin action, or both can favorably alter the central nervous system (CNS) effects, cardiovascular effects, and/or pharmacokinetics of methamphetamine. The proposed medicines to be tested in humans are prazosin, cyproheptadine, and quetiapine. Methamphetamine-abusing volunteers will undergo six sessions spaced 2-3 days apart. A single oral dose of one of the treatment medicines (placebo, low dose, high dose) will be given in a randomized, double-blind design before methamphetamine or methamphetamine placebo administration in each session. The volunteers will receive only one of the treatment medicines during each six-session study. Methamphetamine will be given intravenously (iv) in a dosing regimen that is well-tolerated by humans but that results in easily measurable effects by itself.
In Specific Aim 1, we will determine whether medications that block (1b-adrenergic receptors (prazosin), 5-HT2A receptors (cyproheptadine), or both (quetiapine) alter the self-reported/performance effects of methamphetamine.
In Specific Aim 2, we will determine whether acute pretreatment with these medications alters the cardiovascular effects of methamphetamine relative to methamphetamine alone.
In Specific Aim 3, we will determine whether these medications alter the concentration-effect (pharmacodynamics) relationships of methamphetamine. Before and after administering the treatment medicines (or placebo) and methamphetamine (or placebo), self-report (ARCI, POMS, VAS), cognitive performance (DSST, Stroop), and cardiac effect (e.g., cardiac output and arrhythmia) measures will be obtained. Blood samples will be obtained to determine the effect of the medicines on methamphetamine serum concentrations. These measures will provide a broad pharmacologic effect profile and help to understand how beneficial effects of these medicines are hindered by adverse side effects. These novel datasets could provide essential information on how to use existing medicines and design better medicines to treat what is currently an untreatable addiction.
These studies have immediate relevance to public health because they will identify medications and characteristics of ideal medicines that have the potential to effectively treat the serious psychiatric and medical effects of methamphetamine abuse. The studies will define the most effective balance of beneficial effects and side effects of the treatment medications. These studies will also identify characteristics of methamphetamine pharmacology that can be targeted for future treatment medications development.