Friday, May 29, 2009
Medical Reports: Attacking Addiction
Patients with mental illness often suffer from drug addiction as well. In the past, support groups and counseling used to be the only treatment, but now there's a drug that helps erase the cravings. In today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz takes a look at new prescription for addiction.
WSVN -- Matt McLellan's art tells a story, a story of his addiction and pain.
Matt McLellan: "It's just an awful, ugly piece. The Arm of the Devil."
Matt started with alcohol then marijuana. He even used crystal meth but his worst enemy? Crack cocaine.
Matt McLellan: "It was just like an instant blast-off. I mean, it was just beyond any other drug."
Matt's addiction was costly. He spent more than $50,000 on the drug. His wife and three kids moved away, and he also lost his house.
Matt McLellan: "I couldn't walk away until all of the money was gone."
Now Matt has been clean and sober for a year. He did it with a treatment called Prometa.
Dr. Steve Ayers: "I haven't seen anything else like it."
Dr. Steve Ayers uses Prometa on patients who are addicted to cocaine, meth or alcohol. It involves three to five infusions of a drug used to treat overdose. Then, for a month, patients take daily doses of pills typically used to treat anxiety and seizures.
Dr. Steve Ayers: "It physiologically changes the brain tissue, the brain chemistry."
But not everyone is convinced. Dr. John Mendelson says more studies need to be done.
Dr. John Mendelson: "You are promoting a treatment that has no known efficacy to a group of people that can suffer a very severe consequence."
The regimen is not FDA-approved and can cost up to $15,000, which is not covered by insurance, but Matt says the money was worth it.
Matt McLellan: "I think I'm so blessed to have found a cure for this disease in my lifetime."
Christine Cruz: "The drugs used in the Prometa cocktail are FDA-approved for other uses but not for addiction. They are part of a program that also includes nutritional supplements and counseling sessions.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The Prometa Treatment Program