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Heart medicine may be potential solution for alcohol consumption disorder: Research

by Pragati Singh

According to a recent study conducted by National Institutes of Health researchers and their collaborators, a medicine used to treat cardiac problems and high blood pressure may also be beneficial in treating alcohol use disorder.

The report presents convergent data from mouse and rat experiments, as well as a human cohort study, to support the hypothesis that the medicine spironolactone may help individuals consume less alcohol. The study was led by scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

The new findings are detailed in a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry “Combining results from three distinct species and research projects of varying designs, and then observing parallels in those data, gives us confidence that we are on to something potentially significant in terms of science and therapy. Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., PhD, one of the senior authors and chief of the Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology Section, a joint laboratory of NIDA and NIAAA, stated, “These findings support further research into spironolactone as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorder, which affects millions of people in the United States.

In the United States, three medications have now been approved for the treatment of alcohol consumption problem, and they are both effective and critical to the care of persons who suffer from this illness. Because alcohol consumption problem is impacted by a multitude of biological systems, new medications are necessary to provide a broader range of therapeutic alternatives. Scientists are developing a broader range of pharmacological therapies that may be tailored to each patient.

According to a previous research, mineralocorticoid receptors, which are distributed throughout the brain and other organs and help manage fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, may be implicated in alcohol consumption and desire.

Greater mineralocorticoid receptor signalling, according to a preclinical investigation, is a factor in increased alcohol intake. In order to advance this line of investigation, the present study employed the medication spironolactone, which has a variety of effects including blocking mineralocorticoid receptors. Spironolactone is a diuretic that is used in the treatment of disorders such as high blood pressure and heart problems.

Researchers from NIAAA and NIDA revealed that increasing dosages of spironolactone lowered alcohol intake in male and female animals without harming their ability to move or coordinate, or influencing how much food or water they ingested.

In a separate study, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine led by co-senior author Amy C. Justice, M.D., PhD, examined the health records of a large sample of patients from the U.S. Veterans Affairs healthcare system as part of this team’s collaborative efforts to assess potential changes in alcohol consumption after spironolactone was prescribed for its current clinical indications (e.g., heart problems, high blood pressure).

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A screening instrument, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Intake, demonstrated a substantial connection between spironolactone medication and a decrease in self-reported alcohol intake. Individuals who reported risky/heavy episodic alcohol consumption before to starting spironolactone treatment had the largest impact.

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