FDA takes steps to advance the development of novel therapies for stimulant use disorders

Oct. 5, 2023
Comments on the draft guidance are requested within 60 days to ensure the agency considers them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a new draft guidance to assist sponsors in developing treatments for stimulant use disorders. The guidance, Stimulant Use Disorders: Developing Drugs for Treatment, when finalized, will be one of the first to provide the FDA’s current thinking on the overall development program and clinical trial design to develop drugs and biologics to support treatment of moderate to severe cocaine use disorder, methamphetamine use disorder and prescription stimulant use disorder. 

Among other things, the draft guidance contains recommendations regarding clinical trial design related to evaluating stimulant use disorder treatments. Designing clinical studies to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of stimulant use disorder treatments presents a number of unique challenges—from selecting appropriate populations for studies to determining the most appropriate clinical endpoints—that require careful review. However, there are opportunities to improve clinical trial design and develop trials that are more person-centered, which may result in increased sensitivity to detect a treatment effect, with the potential for treatment effects to be linked to meaningful long-term outcomes. 

The draft guidance also describes basic considerations throughout the drug development process including trial conduct, data collection, methods to assess treatment response, subject safety and new drug application requirements. For example, the guidance incorporates lessons learned about approaches that are unlikely to be successful and reflects current recommendations about approaches for treating stimulant use disorders and evaluating response to treatment.

FDA release