Targeting Withdrawal Symptoms in Men Addicted to Methamphetamine With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Drug withdrawal is associated with aversive experiences, which promotes relapse.1 Different neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, signal transduction pathways, and brain regions (especially the nucleus accumbens) have been implicated in the occurrence of withdrawal syndrome during abstinence from addictive drugs.2 Withdrawal from methamphetamine results in fatigue, irritability, disturbed sleep, exhaustion, and symptoms of depression and anxiety, which might last for months. Currently, limited pharmaceutical tools are available for detoxification from methamphetamine; vitamins, antidepressants, and antipsychotics have been used to ameliorate withdrawal symptoms in clinical practices.3

In an animal study, optogenetic stimulation of the thalamic-accumbens dopamine D2 medium spiny neuron pathway alleviated somatic signs induced by opiate withdrawal.4 However, it is unknown if noninvasive brain stimulation could facilitate detoxification during the withdrawal period in humans. In this study, we used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) targeting the left dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to modulate symptoms of withdrawal from methamphetamine.