Novel therapeutic for problem drinking

Ref: 13290
A compound efficacious in the reduction of alcohol intake and to protect against problems associated with heavy drinking

Key advantages
  • Reduces alcohol intake whilst not affecting intake of other liquids (e.g., water)
  • Reduction of intake lasts well beyond cessation of the treatment period
  • Reduces anxiety and enhances social behaviours well beyond the cessation of the treatment period, considered essential in the long term prevention of problem drinking

The invention

Alcohol use accounts for 4.4% of the world’s burden of disease with 58 million disability adjusted life years lost to its use.

In Australia and the US there are currently three drugs approved for treating alcohol dependence Disulfiram, Acamprosate, and Naltrexone.

These drugs show limited efficacy in the treatment of alcohol related problems with many people not responding to the drugs effects or showing severe adverse reactions to their use.

It is now widely accepted that there are two types of alcohol dependent patients: the alcoholic that drinks for the rewarding properties of alcohol and becomes addicted to the high and the rush they experience when intoxicated; and, the anxious drinker who drinks heavily as a response to their high levels of anxiety and stress.

Both animal and human research suggests that anxiety and stress play a key role in alcohol dependence but at present no treatments specifically target these factors.

Currently, researchers are investigating the effect of a number of new treatments for alcohol dependence with a focus on patients that are not responsive to the available drug treatments.

These recent studies have generated some promising findings for novel biological targets for the treatment of alcohol dependence but are yet to produce anything which would suggest an overall improvement from the currently available treatments.

Applications

The compound provides therapeutic application for the treatment of problem drinking and associated mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Research further suggests that the compound may be effective in the treatment of associated addictions such as nicotine, cannabis and other illicit substances and facilitates improvement in social functioning which is commonly affected by addiction.

Principal inventors

  • Prof. Iain McGregor
  • Mr. Dean Carson
  • Dr. Adam Guastella
  • Mr. Michael Bowen

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