Amphetamines, including methamphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy) and dexamphetamine, work by increasing levels of seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. While the effects of stimulants are not directly related to the opiate system, the opiate system and the dopamine system are linked. Therefore, increases in dopamine can be limited by blocking the opioid receptors using naltrexone.
Research conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Dr. O Neil supports the use of naltrexone in amphetamine patients. By using naltrexone, the changes in dopamine concentrations that come from using amphetamines can be reduced. By reducing dopamine, the motivation to use amphetamine and the feeling of reward obtained from using is decreased. The result is decreased cravings, decreased desire to use and reduction in the ‘feel’ and ‘liking’ of the drug.
A recent study investigating the effectiveness of the implant in amphetamine patients, found that following implantation, 65% of patients stopped using, and the remaining 30% reduced or gained control over their amphetamine use.
Anyone who can pass the naloxone challenge can be fitted straightaway with an OLANI. Procedural details can be found on the opiates page.