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Hormone Drug May Help Drinkers Stay Sober
Date:2/27/2009

abergoline.

The drug also appeared effective at cutting the craving for alcohol and lowering the risk of relapse, a critical issue for recovering alcoholics.

The experiment was further strengthened when cabergoline was given to mice genetically modified to have only a single copy of the GDNF gene, which would mean less of the protein could be produced. The drug had no effect on the drinking habits of these altered mice, the researchers reported.

The study, while noting success with cabergoline in a pilot study on human cocaine addicts, also warned the drug had been linked to heart value issues when given in higher doses as a treatment for Parkinson's disease.

"However," Ron said, "we show that in mice and rats, a low dose of the drug is enough to reduce excessive alcohol consumption, alcohol seeking and relapse. The dose is similar to what is given to humans for the treatment of hyperprolactinemia."

Only three medications have FDA approval for treating alcohol dependence -- disulfiram (Antabuse), naltrexone (Depade, ReVia), and acamprosate (Campral).

The U.S. National Institutes of Health estimates that almost 18 million people in the United States -- approximately one in every 12 adults -- abuses alcohol or is alcohol-dependent.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about alcoholism.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Feb. 23, 2009


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