Pfizer's Smoking Cessation Drug Shows Promise for Treating Alcoholism
> 7/10/2007 10:18:39 AM

A study using laboratory rats has demonstrated that the FDA-approved smoking cessation drug varenicline, marketed by Pfizer as Chantix, also may help alcoholics reduce alcohol dependance and consumption. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, expressed happiness at finding a potential treatment for alcohol dependance, a disorder with few psychopharmacological options. As the FDA has already approved the drug for human use, researchers can move quickly to see if their animal tests can be repeated in humans and determine if varenicline can indeed be prescribed to treat alcoholism.

A UCSF press release described the design of the team's research:

In the study, rats had access to unlimited amounts of alcohol. Under these conditions, they steadily increased their alcohol intake over several months. But the first day they received the drug, they cut their drinking in half. They received the drug every other day for a week, and during this period, maintained their lower drinking level. When the drug was discontinued, they returned to their previous level but no higher.

It is not entirely certain that the results found in rats will translate to humans, but the researchers are optimistic because both drinking and smoking trigger the same "reward circuitry" in the brain, and therefore it would reason that a medication that worked on one addiction would work on the other. The team's research, which will appear this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, should give hope to the nearly 10 million Americans who qualify for a DSM-IV diagnosis of alcoholism as well as the millions more who struggle with alcohol dependance every day. Physicians and mental health workers who specialize in addiction would do well to keep their eyes open for future announcements regarding Chantix and alcoholism as this research has paved the way for future research into the pharmacological treatment of alcoholism.

Comments

I also take depakote (1500mg) daily will this medication effect that at all?
Posted by: james shirley 7/16/2007 11:48:04 AM

Is it possible for a non-medical professional to be added to an "updates" list on the progress of this research? I have a relationship with one suffering from alcoholism and am most interested in the results of the testing.
Posted by: r. wynn 7/23/2007 9:44:55 AM



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