Drug for skin diseases may treat alcohol addiction

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In a study from Oregon Health & Science University and elsewhere, scientists found a pill used to treat a common skin disease as an “incredibly promising” treatment for alcohol use disorder.

The found that on average, the people who received the medication, called apremilast, reduced their alcohol intake by more than half—from five drinks per day to two.

Beginning in 2015, the team searched a genetic database looking for compounds likely to counteract the expression of genes known to be linked to heavy alcohol use.

Apremilast, an FDA-approved anti-inflammatory medication used to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, appeared to be a promising candidate.

The team then tested it in two unique animal models that had a genetic of risk for excessive drinking, as well as in other strains of mice at laboratories across the country.

In each case, apremilast reduced drinking among a variety of models predisposed to mild to heavy alcohol use.

The researchers found that apremilast triggered an increase in activity in the nucleus accumbens, the region of the brain involved in controlling alcohol intake.

Researchers then tested apremilast in people. They tested 51 people who were assessed over 11 days of treatment.

These people with alcohol use disorder weren’t seeking any form of treatment.

The team predicts that apremilast may be even more effective among people who are motivated to reduce their alcohol drinking.

The team says apremilast’s large effect size on reducing drinking, combined with its good tolerability in the participants, suggests it is an excellent candidate for further evaluation as a novel treatment for people with alcohol use disorder.

It’s imperative for more clinical trials to be done on people seeking treatment.

An estimated 95,000 people in the United States die every year from alcohol-related deaths, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

If you care about health, please read studies about how COVID-19 is linked to diabetes, and scientists find new way to detect fatty liver disease accurately.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that Keto diet could benefit overweight people with type 2 diabetes, and results showing Mediterranean diet could help reduce the diabetes risk by 30%.

The study was conducted by Kolter Grigsby et al and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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