Australian researchers will receive almost $5 million to test the use of a common antidepressant to fight methamphetamine (ice) addiction.
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW will get $4.9 million from the federal government to conduct the study, which is testing the antidepressant mirtazapine for ice addiction treatment.
Some 340 participants will receive either the drug or a placebo for 12 weeks to determine if mirtazapine successfully suppresses ice cravings.
Mirtazapine is a low-cost drug already available on Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for those diagnosed with depression.
Lead researcher and UNSW Associate Professor Rebecca McKetin said no medications are currently approved in Australia for ice addiction.
"We have evidence from two small trials in the US that mirtazapine can help people reduce their methamphetamine use," Prof McKetin said in a statement.
"We want to find out whether mirtazapine can work in a real-world setting to treat methamphetamine use in Australia.
"We have seen a high demand for trials, with many people wanting to try new medications to help them reduce their methamphetamine use."
Recruitment for the Australian trial will begin next year, with trial results by 2024.
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Australian Associated Press