advertisement
Home » News » Treatment for Meth OD May Harm Brain

Treatment for Meth OD May Harm Brain

According to experimental scientists a common antipsychotic drug used in emergency rooms to treat methamphetamine overdose can damage nerve cells in an area of the brain known to regulate movement.

Investigators from the Boston University School of Medicine used a rat model to determine that only the combination of the medication, haloperidol, and methamphetamine causes the destructive effects, not either one alone.

Senior author Bryan Yamamoto, PhD, and his team suspect the damage results from the exaggerated stimulation of cells by the amino acid glutamate, which proves toxic to cells producing the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Their results are published in the May 30 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

“This work in laboratory animals raises immediate concerns that a standard treatment for methamphetamine overdose in humans might worsen drug abuse-related brain injuries,” says William Carlezon, PhD, at Harvard’s McLean Hospital, who was not affiliated with the study.

“A crucial next step is to determine how atypical antipsychotic medications would affect methamphetamine toxicity in the same model.”

The rats in the experiment were injected with either methamphetamine or a saline solution over a period of eight hours. When the rats were given haloperidol before and nearly halfway through the eight-hour period, Yamamoto and his colleagues noted more than a fivefold rise in base levels of glutamate in the substantia nigra, a part of the brain known to play a role in movement disorders such as Huntington’s disease.

After examining the long-term effects of the combination, they found that glutamate concentrations in the substantia nigra were twice as high in methamphetamine-treated rats as in saline-treated ones two days after injections.

Yamamoto and his colleagues were able to link this rise in glutamate to the death of GABA-containing cells in one part of the substantia nigra. This may predispose some people who have been treated for a methamphetamine overdose to seizures and the development of movement disorders, they say, although the study did not measure movement specifically.

In addition to future studies of other antipsychotic medications, says Yamamoto, “we hope to examine if the loss of cells results in abnormal involuntary movements resembling Tourette’s syndrome and Huntington’s disease.”

Source: Society for Neuroscience

Treatment for Meth OD May Harm Brain

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Treatment for Meth OD May Harm Brain. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/05/30/treatment-for-meth-od-may-harm-brain/862.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.