A common heart and blood pressure drug could see a second function as a treatment for alcohol use disorder, new government-led research suggests this week. Studies have found evidence in both rodents and humans that the drug spironolactone can reduce people’s craving and consumption of alcohol.
spironolactone Has been in the medicine cabinet for decades, first discovered in the late 1950s. It is a type of steroid used primarily for its diuretic effect, meaning that it induces the loss of water and sodium through increased urine output. It has long been used to reduce fluid buildup due to conditions such as heart failure and kidney disease., reducing the risk of serious complications later; It is also used in combination with other medicines to lower high blood pressure.
Over the years, it has become clear that spironolactone is useful for other health problems beyond these indications. Because it can block the production of androgen hormones associated with excess oil production, for example, it sometimes used To treat acne in women (in men, it causes low testosterone levels that are not worth the side effects). And some research has begun to show that receptors inhibited by spironolactone may also play a role in driving people’s alcohol consumption. If so, this medicine may help people with alcohol use disorder – a chronic condition with few treatments.
To better understand the drug’s potential, researchers at the National Institutes of Health decided to study its effects on rats and mice that were made to be either intoxicated or dependent on alcohol. They found that increasing doses of spironolactone led to lower levels of alcohol consumption among both male and female rodents, and without potential adverse effects such as decreased appetite for food and water.
second part of research Analyzed medical records of patients treated through Veterans Affairs, the country’s largest integrated health care system. Compared to similarly matched control patients who were not taking medication, VA patients on spironolactone for other conditions reported a greater reduction in subsequent alcohol use. And this reduction was greatest among those who reported the highest levels of alcohol before taking the drug, as well as among those who took the highest doses of spironolactone.
These findings, Published There doesn’t seem to be the kind of definitive evidence needed to approve spironolactone as a new treatment for alcohol use disorder, reported Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. But the various lines of evidence make a strong case that it is now definitely worth spending the time and resources to find out, the authors say.
“These are very encouraging findings,” said study author George Cobb, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Statement from NIH. “Taken together, the present study argues for conducting a randomized, controlled study of spironolactone in people with alcohol use disorder to assess its safety and potential efficacy in this population, as well as to understand whether Additional work needs to be done to see how spironolactone might reduce alcohol drinking.”
there are three approved drugs For alcohol use disorder. Only two of these drugs, naltrexone and acamprosate, are considered effective front-line treatments (the third drug, disulfiram, causes symptoms such as nausea when a person tries to drink and are usually only recommended as a last resort). So, This difficult-to-manage condition certainly requires more treatment. it is Estimated 14.5 million Americans struggle with an alcohol use disorder, which is defined as a chronic physical and emotional dependence on alcohol that causes harm to themselves and others. But according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, less than 10% of victims have received any treatment in the past year.