A team of researchers might be one step closer to finding an effective drug for alcohol dependence, bringing hope for the people who are ready to recover from alcoholism.
In two separate studies, researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden show that the dopamine stabilizer OSU6162 can reduce the craving for alcohol in alcohol dependent people and normalises the level of dopamine in the brain reward system of rats that have consumed alcohol over a long period of time. However, thorough clinical studies are needed to determine if the OSU6162 also can help alcohol dependent people drink less alcohol.
The results of the studies are promising, but there is still a long way to go before they have a marketable drug, says co-author Pia Steensland, adding that the socioeconomic costs of alcohol are huge, not to mention the human suffering. It is inspiring to continue working.
Roughly a million Swedes over 15 years of age drink so much alcohol that they risk damaging their health and it is estimated that some 300,000 of these people are dependent. Despite the pressing need, there are only a few approved drugs for the treatment of alcohol dependence, but their effects vary from person to person and the prescriptions rates are low. Consequently the hunt for new, more efficacious drugs for alcohol dependence continues.
Researchers think that OSU6162 can reduce the alcohol craving in dependent people by returning the downregulated levels of dopamine in their brain reward system to normal, says Steensland.
The study is published in journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.