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The high blood pressure medication epironolactone can help cure alcoholism

WASHINGTON – Doctors may have a promising new weapon in the fight against alcoholism, a drug commonly used to treat heart problems and high blood pressure. The drug is called spironolactone, and researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Yale School of Medicine say it reduces alcohol consumption in mice, rats and humans. Previous research suggests that mineralocorticoid receptors, which help regulate fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, may be linked to alcohol consumption and cravings.

“Combining the findings from three species and different types of research studies, and then seeing similarities in that data, gives us confidence that we’re onto something potentially scientifically and clinically important,” says lead study author Lorenzo Leggio, MD, Ph.D., in a media release. “These findings support further study of spironolactone as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorder, a medical condition that affects millions of people in the US.”

The researchers found that increasing doses of spironolactone, commonly available under the brand names CaroSpir and Aldactone, in mice and rats. decrease in alcohol consumption both in male and female animals. More importantly, the medication did not cause any movement or coordination problems, nor did it affect his food or water intake. These findings provided promising evidence for the potential of epironolactone as a treatment option alcohol use disorder.

Stressed woman while drinking (© fizkes – stock.adobe.com)

In addition to the animal studies, a parallel study was conducted using health records of a large sample of people from the US Veterans Affairs health care system. Records were analyzed to assess changes in alcohol consumption after spironolactone was prescribed for its approved clinical indications, such as heart problems and high blood pressure. The analysis revealed a significant association between spironolactone treatment and reduction in self-reported alcohol consumption, particularly among those who reported hazards or heavy episodic drinking before starting the medication.

Dr. George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), expressed optimism about the findings, stressing the need for more research to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of spironolactone in people with alcohol use disorders. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), emphasized the importance of expanding treatment options for people with alcohol use disorders and address stigma and barriers to accessing available treatments.

The results of this study give hope for development new medicines adapted to the individual needs of people suffering from an alcohol use disorder. As scientists continue to explore different drug treatments, the ultimate goal is to provide a wider range of options for those seeking help to overcome alcohol addiction. Further research, including randomized controlled studies, will be needed to fully understand the potential of spironolactone in the treatment of alcohol use disorder and to ensure its safety and efficacy.

The study is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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