Heart medication shows potential as treatment for alcohol use disorder
A medication for heart problems and high blood pressure may also be effective for treating alcohol use disorder, according to a new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and their colleagues. The study presents converging evidence from experiments in mice and rats, as well as a cohort study in humans, suggesting that the medication, spironolactone, may play a role in reducing alcohol drinking. The research was led by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both parts NIH, and Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut. A report of the new findings is published in Molecular Psychiatry.
“Combining findings across three species and different types of research studies, and then seeing similarities in those data, gives us confidence that we are onto something potentially important scientifically and clinically. These findings support further study of spironolactone as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorder, a medical condition that affects millions of people in the U.S.,” said Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology Section, a joint laboratory of NIDA and NIAAA, and one of the senior authors.
Currently there are three medications approved for alcohol use disorder in the United States, and they are an effective and important aid in the treatment of people with this condition. Given the diverse biological processes that contribute to alcohol use disorder, new medications are needed to provide a broader spectrum of treatment options. Scientists are working to develop a larger menu of pharmaceutical treatments that could be tailored to individual needs.
This page was last updated on Monday, October 10, 2022