Washington :. A new drug that targets a part of the brain stress system can help in healing people with alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to a new study
Researchers, led by Raye Litten, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, conducted a clinical trial of a new compound, called ABT-436, designed to block the effects of vasopressin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus of the brain. “Vasopressin helps regulate the adrenal pituitary axis and other brain circuits involved in emotion. As such, it plays a role in regulating stress, anxiety and its interaction with AUD” Litten said.
Litten and colleagues recruited 144 adult men and women dependent on alcohol for the 12-week study. During a reference period of 28 days, female participants consumed at least 28 drinks per week, while male participants consumed at least 35 drinks per week. Participants were randomized to receive placebo or tablets containing the compound ABT-436.
Researchers found that participants who received ABT-436 abstained from alcohol for more days than those receiving placebo. Participants who reported high stress levels seem to respond better to ABT-436. Smokers also benefited from ABT-436. Experts suspect that ABT-436 headed the same areas of the brain that relate to the withdrawal and stress, and in the process, influenced both snuff use disorders and alcohol.
Study: Raye Litten, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Principal Investigator: Raye Litten, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism