Medical School

Postgraduate research profiles

Christopher Cruickshank

Thesis

Clinical profile and treatment of methamphetamine withdrawal

Summary

Factor analysis identified two components of the methamphetamine withdrawal syndrome, labelled fatigue and anxiety. The severity of withdrawal was found to be maximal between days 0 and 3 of abstinence and significantly improved after 9 days. However, symptoms remained more severe than among a cohort unaffected by drug use. The Clinician-rated Amphetamine Withdrawal Scale (CAWS) was developed to assist in clinical monitoring of methamphetamine withdrawal. This instrument was used to assess methamphetamine withdrawal severity in a placebo-controlled trial of the antidepressant mirtazapine in the treatment methamphetamine withdrawal.

Why my research is important

Methamphetamine is the second-most commonly used illicit drug in and is associated with high rates of dependence. However, there is currently a lack of effective treatments for methamphetamine dependence. The withdrawal syndrome represents a significant barrier to discontinuing dependent methamphetamine use. Characterisation of the clinical profile of the syndrome and identification of pharmacotherapies that alleviate methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms may improve the clinical management of methamphetamine dependence.

Funding

  • National Health and Medical Research Council (Dora Lush Biomedical Scholarship)