A review of Australian Clinical Guidelines for Methamphetamine Disorder

October 2019
Roche, A.M., Ryan, K., Fischer, J., Nicholas, R. (2019). A review of Australian Clinical Guidelines for Methamphetamine Use Disorder. Prepared by the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction for the National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs.

Overview of findings

NCETA’s review of Australian methamphetamine-related guidelines for the National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs (NCCRED) identified 27 guidelines that either solely addressed methamphetamine (or stimulants) or were generic with component parts of relevance.

While the available guidelines covered most of the relevant treatment settings and target population groups, there were some notable gaps which formed the basis of the review’s recommendations.

The quality of the identified clinical guidelines was assessed using an NCETA-modified version of the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) instrument (Brouwers et al., 2010). Many of the guidelines were found to have considerable clinical utility. However, since the guidelines were not developed to explicitly meet the AGREE criteria, most did not meet that assessment criteria regarding:

  • Adequate detail on processes by which they were developed
  • Inclusion of target clinicians’/workers’ or patients’/public views in the guideline development.

In addition, a number of guidelines used stigmatising and judgemental language that could undermine effective therapeutic relationships between patients and care providers.

Review recommendations

The review recommended that in relation to future guideline development:

  1. The Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) Framework or other guideline development standard as recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council is used to shape future clinical guidelines to address methamphetamine and other emerging drugs
  2. The following priority treatment settings population groups should be addressed:
    1. Telephone / online
    2. Corrections
    3. General inpatient settings
    4. LGBTIQ populations
    5. Aboriginal populations
    6. Rural and remote populations
    7. They should comprise two components:
      1. Concise desktop resource that provides guidance to busy clinicians
      2. Comprehensive bookshelf companion resource that details the guideline development.

This examination of methamphetamine-related clinical guidelines is intended to support the National Ice Action Strategy by identifying gaps in resources to support the AOD workforce, how these gaps could be addressed and where further research may be required to support future guideline development.

To find out more about the outcomes of the review you can download a copy of the report from the NCETA or NCCRED websites.