An anti-inflammatory agent known as ketoprofen has been shown to reduce neuronal damage in rats that have been exposed to chronic stress and methamphetamine. If these findings are also true for humans, then doctors may have a new way to treat methamphetamine addicts.

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According to NIDA, long-term use of methamphetamine damages the dopamine and serotonin terminals on neurons in the striatum. This reduces communication between neurons in the brain, which is why many methamphetamine addicts suffer from cognitive and behavioral problems. Stress only worsens the situation.

Drs. Nicole Northrop and Bryan Yamamoto of the University of Toledo, Ohio, gave the rats ketoprofen to see if reduced inflammation correlated with improved brain function. Their hypothesis was that the medication should alleviate the stress-induced inflammatory response. They found that the anti-inflammatory medication relieved the rats of the negative impacts of stress, even when administered after the stressful experience.

This is great news for doctors who treat those who were previously addicted to methamphetamine. Heavy meth use can lead to side effects like insomnia, anxiety, confusion, psychotic behavior, and paranoia. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “stress has been shown to precipitate spontaneous recurrence of methamphetamine psychosis in formerly psychotic methamphetamine abusers.” By using the anti-inflammatory medication, doctors will be able to reduce stress and improve the functioning of neurons in the brain.