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Exercise for methamphetamine dependence: rationale, design, and methodology.

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Effective pharmacotherapies to treat methamphetamine (MA) dependence have not been identified, and behavioral therapies are marginally effective. Based on behavioral studies demonstrating the potential efficacy of aerobic exercise for improving depressive symptoms, anxiety, cognitive deficits, and substance use outcomes, the study described here is examining exercise as a potential treatment for MA-dependent individuals.


This study is randomizing 150 participants with MA dependence at a residential treatment facility for addictive disorders to receive either a thrice-weekly structured aerobic and resistance exercise intervention or a health education condition. Recruitment commenced in March, 2010. Enrollment and follow-up phases are ongoing, and recruitment is exceeding targeted enrollment rates.


Seeking evidence for a possibly effective adjunct to traditional behavioral approaches for treatment of MA dependence, this study is assessing the ability of an 8-week aerobic and resistance exercise protocol to reduce relapse to MA use during a 12-week follow-up period after discharge from residential-based treatment. The study also is evaluating improvements in health and functional outcomes during and after the protocol. This paper describes the design and methods of the study.

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