New findings on the staggering toll of methamphetamine use

Plus: A faster way to treat opioid patients and research into the association of perfectionism with alcoholism

By Guillaume Wagner

A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association adds to the mountain of information about the devastating effects of methamphetamine on the body. We also examine a breakthrough in the treatment of patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) and the link between perfectionism and alcohol use disorder (AUD).

From Journal of the American Heart Association:
The impact of methamphetamine use on the heart

A complete solution new study from the University of California, San Francisco indicates that methamphetamine use has a significant impact on the heart. Researchers determined that meth users had a 32% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Men and people with kidney disease or high blood pressure are particularly vulnerable.

“Alcohol and cocaine are established risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” says Nisha Parikh, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and lead author of the study. “What struck me was that meth use is just as risky to the heart.”

“[W]We need to provide more resources for people who use meth and want to quit.

—Nisha Parikh, University of California, San Francisco

To establish a correlation between methamphetamine use and cardiovascular problems, researchers examined the medical records of more than 20.2 million California residents over the age of 14 who received hospital care between 2005 and 2011 and had no no history of cardiovascular disease. About 66,000 of these patients were identified as methamphetamine users and their medical histories were followed for three years to find out if they had continued to suffer from pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, stroke or seizure. cardiac.

The upshot of the study, Parikh says, is that public health officials need to step up their education efforts about methamphetamine. “And,” she adds, “we need to provide more resources for people who use meth and want to quit.” According to the study, “Methamphetamine abuse affects 27 million people worldwide.”

Of Drug and alcohol addiction:
A faster way to treat opioid patients

As opioids continue to claim lives at an unprecedented rate, scientists are scrambling to find solutions. A team from Johns Hopkins University thinks they have one: low dose initiation (LDI) of buprenorphinea drug used to treat opioid addiction.

Rosalyn Walker Stewart

Rosalyn Walker Stewart, MD, MBA, director of addiction medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital, calls ILD “a game changer for people with opioid use disorder” because low intravenous doses bypass the barriers to buprenorphine administration at the start of hospitalization. For example, when buprenorphine is given to people who still have illicit opioids in their system, they can become even sicker. LDI, according to Johns Hopkins researchers, solves this problem, allowing patients to start buprenorphine treatments within 24 to 48 hours of admission to hospital without experiencing adverse effects.

Stewart and his colleagues tested three different types of LDI on 72 patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital over a six-month period. “We’ve learned that it’s possible to start treating patients in hospital in a way that’s fairly quick and doesn’t interfere with other treatments, including for pain,” Stewart says. “With this approach, we can support patients throughout their hospital stay so that they are further along in their recovery process when they leave.”

From International Journal of Drug Policy:
Perfectionism and alcoholism

Perfectionism is a good quality, right? Not always. The authors of a new study in the International Journal of Drug Policy saying that unrealistic performance standards can lead to desperation and, in turn, the AUD. The researchers evaluated 65 adults with AUD and 65 without the affliction. All participants received questionnaires focusing on perfectionism. Participants with AUD were more likely to report depressive symptoms associated with perfectionism.

The research team believe that the results can play an important role in the treatment of AUD. A Press release on the study published by the Alcoholism Research Society states, “Given the potential role of perfectionism in the development and maintenance of severe AUD, this may be a valuable treatment target, have concluded the researchers. They recommend further investigation into the different dimensions of perfectionism in AUD, including whether high perfectionism reduces treatment efficacy, and the causal links between perfectionism, impulsivity, and self-blame.

Top photo: Shutterstock

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