Tag Archives: medication

The Many (Surprising) Health Benefits of Meth

The Many (Surprising) Health Benefits of Methhttps://psmag.com – by Troy Farah – May 2019

Before fentanyl was the demon drug du jour, meth was seen as the worst, most destructive, most evil chemical you could find on the streets.

we’re constantly warned never to try meth—”not even once,” goes the refrain—or it will instantly cause addiction and ruin your life.

Here’s a secret: Meth is an incredible medicine. Some preliminary research suggests that meth can be neuroprotective against stroke and traumatic brain injury, even stimulating the growth of brain cells.

Stimulant-related deaths are indeed on the rise in North America—in some regions, meth is even more prevalent than heroin

Other Americans are prescribed actual, pure meth by their doctors.

It happens less frequently these days, but in ADHD, obesity, or narcolepsy cases where nothing else has worked, a drug called Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) can sometimes help. It can even be prescribed to children as young as seven.

Meth didn’t make a “comeback”; it never left.

It can’t return with a “vengeance” and it can’t be “evil” because we’re talking about a chemical compound here. It has no personality, no feelings, no intentions.

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Thus it does a disservice to science and to medicine, as well as to the people who use these drugs responsibly, to treat a molecule with dualistic properties purely as a poison.

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‘It’s Just a Stimulant, Like Any Other Stimulant’

For Jordan*, the meth he’s prescribed works better against his ADHD with fewer side effects than the Adderall he’d been on for 20 years.

Jordan, a middle-aged man from North Carolina who works in clinical research, now switches every three months between Adderall and Desoxyn to prevent building a tolerance to either stimulant.

Jordan says. “I’ve been on the medications for years, but I can take Adderall or methamphetamine and take a nap afterwards. I don’t have any noticeable side effects.”

So can I! I have ADHD and am prescribed a relatively low dose of Adderall. I’ve noticed that I can take a full dose and it seems to make me less frazzled, to the point that I also can fall asleep with it in my system.

Jordan also doesn’t feel “high” from the doses he takes—approximately 10 to 15 milligrams of meth per day.

When I read articles and books by people who have grappled with an addiction to methamphetamine, I’ve always heard about the euphoria and the ability to stay up for days, be super productive and energized.

Not so for me.

I suppose mine is a “paradoxical reaction” (like I have to antihistamines), where it feels like it’s slowing my brain to a speed I can actually follow instead of zipping all over crazily (like a BB in a boxcar).

Part of the reason Jordan asked to try Desoxyn in the first place was to see if he’d develop any of the “stereotypical meth addict problems,” as he puts it. He hasn’t.

For Joan*, a 66-year-old grandmother living off the grid in northern Georgia, Desoxyn makes her feel normal. “Not high, not hyped up, just normal,” she tells me.

But Desoxyn has not only helped her socialize, manage bills, and finish her master’s degree in social work; it’s also helped with Joan’s depression and self-esteem.

“The only downside is the cost,” she says. “It’s one of the oldest drugs on the market, but even generic, it is outrageously expensive.”

How Meth Can Treat Brain Injury—and Much More

Street doses of meth can be extremely damaging to your health. The purity of such drugs is often unknown, and repeated, high doses of meth have been proven to be neurotoxic.

But in low, pharmaceutical-grade doses, meth may actually repair and protect the brain in certain circumstances.

This was first discovered in 2008, when researchers at Queen’s Medical Center Neuroscience Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii, unexpectedly found that patients who tested positive for methamphetamine were significantly less likely to die from the injuries.

To learn more, in 2011, a different team from the University of Montana applied meth to slices of rat brain that had been damaged to resemble the brains of stroke victims

  • At low doses, the meth gave better behavioral outcomes and even reduced brain-cell death.
  • At high doses, the meth made outcomes worse.

Because meth stimulates the flow of important neurotransmitters

  • dopamine,
  • serotonin, and
  • norepinephrine

—the Montana researchers theorized that methamphetamine may provide neuroprotection through multiple pathways.

To test the proposition, Poulsen and colleagues gave TBI to rats. The rats given meth performed better at a task called the Morris water maze,

But the team also found that low doses of meth were protecting immature neurons, while also promoting the birth of new brain cells that are important for learning and memory. The same was also true for rats that were given meth, but not injured.

a wide variety of stimulant therapies for TBI is being explored, with positive results. These include trials with

  • modafinil, a narcolepsy drug;
  • amantadine, a Parkinson’s drug; and
  • dextroamphetamine, one of the components of Adderall.

Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, seems to be the stimulant most popular in these trials. For example, in 2004, researchers at Drucker Brain Injury Center at MossRehab Hospital in Pennsylvania gave methylphenidate, better known as Ritalin, to 34 patients with moderate to severe TBI. They reported significant improvements in information processing and attention.

Twelve years later, in Gothenburg, Sweden, another 30 patients suffering from prolonged fatigue following TBI were given methylphenidate and observed for six months. They also showed improved cognitive function and reduced fatigue.

But the reason meth isn’t studied more rigorously—for TBI, for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, for stroke—could also come down to money. Methamphetamine is off-patent, meaning there may be less financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to explore the drug’s potential uses.

While Methamphetamine may not be widely recognized as medicine, it clearly has potential to heal as well as harm.

Recognizing the duality of meth is arguably all the more essential in the face of a rising stimulant overdose crisis.

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“Stigma regarding any substance use or substance use disorder is counterproductive,” says Dan Ciccarone, professor of family medicine at the University of California–San Francisco

“Everything will kill you, if you take enough of it,”

Yes, this is even true of water: Hyponatremia

Poulsen says. “Some things don’t require a lot to do that. Meth is one of those things. But just like any drug, the difference between a poison and a cure is the dose.

New device determines whether Rx drugs are fake

This startup built a device to figure out if prescription drugs are fake

The World Health Organization estimates that in sub-Saharan Africa, between 64,000 and 154,000 people die per year from taking fake anti-malaria medications, and other counterfeit drugs claim thousands more lives.

Adebayo Alonge’s was nearly one of them. Over 15 years ago, as a student in Nigeria, he suffered a severe asthma attack. At the hospital, he was given Ventolin, a medication which should have helped him breathe, but instead, because it was counterfeit, put him in a coma for three weeks.

He survived, “but this was the specific experience that stayed with me–it was clear that my life could’ve been ended by a drug that wasn’t what it was supposed to be,”   Continue reading

Alternatives to Opioids in Medication for Pain

Alternatives to Opioids in the Pharmacologic Management of Chronic Pain Syndromes: A Narrative Review of Randomized, Controlled, and Blinded Clinical Trials – free full-text /PMC5785237/ – 2018 Nov

This recent review finds that there is very little evidence beyond a few weeks for the “effectiveness” [see qualification at end of review] of any non-opioid medication that has some beneficial effect on pain.

The goal of this review was to report the current body of evidence-based medicine gained from

  • prospective,
  • randomized-controlled,
  • blinded studies

on the use of non-opioid analgesics for the most common non-cancer chronic pain conditions.    Continue reading

Fast-Acting Depression Drug Approved

Fast-Acting Depression Drug, Newly Approved, Could Help MillionsBy Benedict CareyMar 2019

This is wonderful news because it’s from a different drug class than what’s been available.

This new approach brings fresh hope for those of us who have been hanging on, gritting our teeth, and tolerating our treatment-resistant depression because we can’t get sufficient relief from the current medications.

A nasal spray version of the drug ketamine has shown promise as an antidepressant, even if its properties still aren’t well understood. Continue reading

Guidelines, Pharma, And The Biological Paradigm Shift

Guidelines, Editors, Pharma And The Biological Paradigm Shift – free full-text /PMC3192391/ – Dec 2007

Private investment in biomedical research has increased over the last few decades. At most places it has been welcomed as the next best thing to technology itself.

Much of the intellectual talent from academic institutions is getting absorbed in lucrative positions in industry.

Applied research finds willing collaborators in venture capital funded industry, so a symbiotic growth is ensured for both.

Already in 2007, money was exerting a powerful influence. By now, it’s becoming clear that financial interests are shaping (and often corrupting) the proper practice of medicine.  Continue reading

Fluoroquinolones Overprescribed Despite Dangers

Fluoroquinolones Overprescribed Despite Dangers – Matt McMillen – Feb 2019

This is the strongest warning I’ve seen about these common antibiotics and it makes me wonder why they don’t mention it to us when the drugs are prescribed.

In 2006, Rachel Brummert developed a sinus infection, and her doctor prescribed Levaquin, one of a class of powerful antibiotics called fluoroquinolones.

Shortly after she began taking the drug, she went on an errand. While crossing a parking lot, her Achilles tendon ruptured. Her foot went limp. The agony felt unbearable.   Continue reading

Medicare Patients Face New Rx Opioid Rules in 2019

Medicare Patients Face New Rx Opioid Rules in 2019 — Pain News Network – December 31, 2018/ Pat Anson

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will implement new safety rules on January 1 that could make it harder for over a million Medicare beneficiaries to get prescriptions filled for high doses of opioid pain medication.

Prescriptions for opioid “naïve” patients – those who are new to opioids — will also be limited to an initial 7-day supply, regardless of dose.

The new rules, which are modeled after the 2016 CDC opioid guideline, are intended to reduce the risk of opioid abuse and addiction.

Of course, they accomplish neither in real life.    Continue reading

Pain Processing: Examining the Role of Oxytocin

Pain Processing: Examining the Role of Oxytocin – Rodriguez, MA, LPC – Nov 2017

This is a brief, but technical article about how oxytocin might be useful for chronic pain. While it doesn’t do anything for nociception, it seems to alter the sensation of pain by reducing the part that makes it “hurt like…” not just “feel like…”.

The role of oxytocin (OT) in pain perception has been extensively studied, mainly in animal models; however, a limited number of studies have examined the analgesic effects of OT in humans.

A review recently published in Neuroscience explores the evidence and findings that have uncovered OT sites of action along pain processing pathways.  
Continue reading

Current Status of Anti-Nerve Growth Factor for Pain

Current Status of Nerve Growth Factor Antibodies for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis Pain – free full-text /PMC6007861/ – Jun 2018

Blockade of nerve growth factor (NGF) with antibodies is a promising strategy for treatment of chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA).

Promising according to who?

all reported trials have been funded by the pharmaceutical industry and there are no independently funded trials listed in http://www.clinicaltrials.gov nor are there independent data.

This is the conundrum of drug development. Only those who stand to profit will pay for the expensive research and trials, yet those are exactly the entities most motivated to use “gamed” statistics and produce biased results.   Continue reading

Anti-Nerve Growth Factor for Pain: Jan 2018

NERVE GROWTH FACTOR (NGF) BLOCKADE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM CLINICAL TRIALS AND PRECLINICAL MODELS? – free full-text /PMC5436144/ – Jan 2018

This article shows both the successes and problems with using anti-NGF drugs to control pain when we’re not exactly sure of all the other effects such a drug might have.

Purpose of review

Anti-NGF antibodies hold tremendous potential for the management of osteoarthritis (OA) pain, but clinical trials have revealed serious adverse effects that are incompletely understood.

This review discusses clinical trial results along with preclinical studies that have assessed NGF blockade in experimental OA, in order to provide insight for future studies.   Continue reading