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Prometa is a controversial treatment protocol used primarily for methamphetamine addiction, although it has also been claimed to be effective for dependence on alcohol or cocaine. The treatment, based on the research of Spanish psychologist Juan Jose Legarda, involves a combination of three medications as well as therapy. Prometa was developed by Hythiam, Inc., which has sought to patent the protocol and charges up to $15,000 per patient to license its use. Lower rates are offered to the criminal justice system, where it has been used in several drug court pilot programs.
Prometa has been the subject of limited study, but is still awaiting the results of more thorough scientific study to determine its effectiveness. Hythiam has hypothesized that the treatment works to decrease anxiety and craving by "normalizing" GABA receptors (molecules in the brain that respond to neurotransmitters).
For alcohol dependence, the treatment consists of flumazenil (administered intravenously), hydroxyzine, and gabapentin. The treatment is similar for stimulant dependence, with additional flumazenil administrations. The dosing regimen of the drug combination is discussed in Urschelís recently published study. The initial intravenous administrations are followed up by orally prescribed medications and behavioral treatment.