A pill to get methamphetamine addicts off their habit will be trialled in eastern Australia.
The two-year N-ICE trial in Wollongong, Geelong and Melbourne is being led by the Curtin University National Drug Research Institute in Western Australia.
The trial, which is funded by the federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council, aims to find out if the medication n-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, can reduce ice cravings and help addicts quit.
NAC targets the glutamine changes in the brain that are believed to underpin the addiction, the institute’s Rebecca McKetin says.
“NAC helps to reduce cravings by restoring the balance of chemicals in the brain that are involved in craving and drug-seeking, making it easier for people to manage their desire for the drug,” Associate Professor McKetin said.
Monash, Deakin and La Trobe universities, the University of Wollongong, the University of Newcastle and the Burnet Institute are also involved in the 12-week trial.
Deakin’s Dr Olivia Dean said it was hoped NAC would not only help people stop or cut down their ice use but would also reduce users’ mood swings.
No medication has yet been approved to treat ice addiction and University of Wollongong Professor Peter Kelly hoped “NAC can break the addiction cycle and help people stop using ice”.
Ice users can find out about the trial at www.nicetrial.info and recruitment will run until the end of 2019.