Heart Damage Can Be Reversed in Former Methamphetamine Users

HealthDay News — With proper medical treatment, it may be possible to reverse heart damage in methamphetamine users who stop using the drug, according to a study published in JACC: Heart Failure.

Researchers tracked 30 methamphetamine abusers and measured their heart function to see if it improved after they stopped using the drug. The patients were age 30 on average. Most of the patients were male, and all had evidence of heart failure.

The investigators found that after discontinuing methamphetamine use, participants were less likely to die, or suffer a nonfatal stroke or have to be hospitalized again for heart failure, compared to those who continued using the drug.

In a journal commentary, James Januzzi, MD, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said the study shows that heart function improves only after quitting. “Rather than simply placing patients with suspected methamphetamine associated cardiomyopathy on a cocktail of neurohormonal blockade, the majority of focus should be on helping such patients quit,” he added in a news release from the American College of Cardiology.

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Schurer S, Klingel K, Sandri M, et al. Clinical characteristics, histopathological features, and clinical outcome of methamphetamine-associated cardiomyopathy. JACC: Heart Failure Jun 2017, 5 (6) 435-445; DOI: 10.1016/j.jchf.2017.02.017