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06 May 2013

Addiction harder to treat in teen girls

A small study suggests better methods needed to help teen girls addicted to meth.

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Teen girls have a more difficult time kicking their methamphetamine habit than boys, according to a small new study which suggests that new methods are needed to treat methamphetamine abuse in girls.

The study included 10 girls and nine boys, average age of 17, with methamphetamine addiction who were receiving counselling and were given either the antidepressant bupropion or a placebo.

The teens who took bupropion provided far fewer methamphetamine-free urine samples than those who took the placebo, which suggests that bupropion did not work as a treatment for methamphetamine addiction, the researchers said.

What they found

They also found that boys in both groups had more than twice as many methamphetamine-free urine drug tests than girls in both groups, according to the study.

"The greater severity of methamphetamine problems in adolescent girls compared to boys - combined with results of studies in adults that also found women to be more susceptible to methamphetamine than men - suggests that the gender differences in methamphetamine addiction observed in adults may actually begin in adolescence," study lead author Dr Keith Heinzerling, a health sciences assistant clinical professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said.

The findings indicate the need for research to develop new ways to improve addiction treatment for girls, the researchers said.

More information

The US National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about methamphetamine.

 
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