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Looking into methamphetamine dependence


Narrator:       This is Science Today. With a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers at UCLA are examining whether a drug approved to treat alcoholism could also be used to treat methamphetamine dependence. Psychologist Lara Ray recently led an inpatient study of the drug naltrexone, and discovered that it was more effective in treating alcoholism for patients with a certain gene variation.

Ray:    We're essentially following up on some initial clinical trials from Sweden that have shown a benefit of naltrexone over placebo from methamphetamine dependence and we're adding to this story two important pieces: How does it work? What are the behavioral mechanisms? Does it reduce craving? Does it block the high?  But we also want to examine whether this genetic marker that predicted responses to naltrexone for alcoholism would also hold as a predictor in the context of methamphetamine dependence.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.