New study suggests ovarian hormone may make drug withdrawal symptoms worse for women

June 18, 2018

(Carlisle, Pa.) - New research published in the journal Neuroscience Letters suggests women may have more difficulty than men in withdrawing from and staying off methamphetamine. The study by Dickinson College neuroscientists looked at the interaction of estradiol--a naturally occurring form of estrogen and the major female sex hormone--and methamphetamine in female mice. Researchers found estradiol could contribute to anxiety-like behavior in the mice as they withdrew from the drug. These observations indicate the hormone may contribute to drug relapse in women by worsening anxiety-related symptoms during withdrawal.

"We tend to think of methamphetamine use disorder as a traditionally male problem, but women experience it differently, and this hormone may be a factor in that experience," said research co-author Anthony Rauhut, associate professor of psychology at Dickinson. The finding supports previous studies, which have found women are more likely than men to initiate methamphetamine use earlier, escalate to regular use in a shorter period of time and show signs of greater dependency. Previous research also has found women are more prone to use methamphetamine while also experiencing psychiatric disorders, like anxiety.

"The level of ovarian hormones circulating in a woman's bloodstream fluctuates throughout her menstrual cycle," said study co-author Meredith Curran-Rauhut, neuroscience instructor at Dickinson. "This research suggests that fluctuating estradiol levels may impact severity of withdrawal symptoms in women."

In order to control hormone levels, researchers performed an ovariectomy on mice involved in the study. One group received an implanted estradiol capsule. When injected with methamphetamine, these mice exhibited more anxiety-like behavior as they withdrew from the drug than the mice who did not receive the hormone implant.

"Mouse anxiety behavior is well-understood from decades of observation," explained Rauhut. "Certain measurable behaviors, like how far a mouse travels during its time in the test field or how much time it spends resting along the sides of the chamber can tell us how anxious the animal is."

The husband-and-wife research team thinks their study could lead to further work on women and drug addiction, including studying whether exercise plays a role in reducing the negative effects of drug withdrawal. "The medical field needs to differentiate better between women and men, especially in addiction treatment," Curran-Rauhut said.
-end-


Dickinson College

Related Methamphetamine Articles from Brightsurf:

Study explores link between methamphetamine use and risky sexual behavior
Recreational use of the illicit drug methamphetamine has long been associated with increases in overall impatient and risky behavior.

Impact of methamphetamine use depends on your genes
The research, published in Molecular Psychiatry found that variations in the gene known as BDNF strongly determine the effects of methamphetamine in the brain.

Co-addiction of meth and opioids hinders treatment
A study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that methamphetamine use was associated with more than twice the risk for dropping out of treatment for opioid-use disorder.

Mapping international drug use through the world's largest wastewater study
A seven-year project monitoring illicit drug use in 37 countries via wastewater samples shows that cocaine use was skyrocketing in Europe in 2017 and Australia had a serious problem with methamphetamine.

A rat's brain, on and off methamphetamine
Drug addiction is a vicious cycle of reward and withdrawal.

The science Of Breaking Bad: Would you know if meth was cooked inside your house?
Researchers analysed the contamination levels in household items from a home suspected to have previously been used for cooking methamphetamine, to determine whether surface wipe samples can adequately establish contamination and define the health risks.

Spending on illicit drugs in US nears $150 billion annually
Spending on cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine fluctuated between $120 billion and $145 billion each year from 2006 to 2016, rivaling what Americans spend each year on alcohol, according to a new study.

Psychostimulants play a major role in fatal strokes among young adults
An estimated 76 million people use psychostimulants, which include illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, as well as prescription stimulants.

New study examines the way estrogen affects methamphetamine addiction
MUSC researchers look at how methamphetamine affects female rats in a new study published January 10 eNeuro.

New study suggests ovarian hormone may make drug withdrawal symptoms worse for women
Researchers found that a form of the estrogen hormone can contribute to drug relapse in females by worsening withdrawal symptoms.

Read More: Methamphetamine News and Methamphetamine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.