Researchers at the Hunter Medical Research Institute are now recruiting participants for a world-first clinical trial to help methamphetamine addicts break their dependence with an existing drug. 

The LiMA study hopes to find out if a high dosage of lisdexamfetamine, currently approved to treat ADHD, could be effective in reducing methamphetamine use and easing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Professor Adrian Dunlop, Director of Drug and Alcohol Clinical Services at Hunter New England Health, says the research could be helpful in curbing Australia’s high rates of ice abuse.

“We’ve consistently seen methamphetamine users presenting for treatment over the past decade in Newcastle and across the Hunter region,” Prof Dunlop said.

“While counselling is effective for many people with less problematic methamphetamine use, we currently don’t have a proven medication treatment for severe methamphetamine dependence.”

Dexamphetamine, of which lisdexamfetamine is a slow release form, has already had promising results in treating ice dependence.

But Lisdexamfetamine has a slower onset of action and is much more difficult for the body to use in a non-medical way.

“If you crush up the drug and inject it, you are not going to get a rush because it still has to be turned into dexamphetamine in your blood,” Prof Dunlop said.

The study has already recruited 142 people and is looking for 38 more.

Participants will receive either lisdexamfetamine or a placebo medication, as well as access to counselling services.

People interested in taking part can contact Hunter New England Health Drug and Alcohol Clinical Services at 0417656352 or 0438065230, or on the study’s website at