The journal Molecular Psychiatry just published their research findings.
According to a recent study by National Institutes of Health researchers and their associates, a drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems may also be effective in treating alcohol use disorder.
The spironolactone medicine may play a role in reducing alcohol consumption, according to convergent evidence from studies done on mice, rats, and humans.
The study was conducted by researchers at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both of which are components of the NIH.
Combining results from three distinct species and research projects of various types, then spotting parallels in those data, gives us hope that we may be on to something potentially significant for science and medicine. These results encourage additional research into spironolactone as a possible therapy for alcohol use disorder.
According to Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology Section, a joint lab of NIDA and NIAAA, and one of the senior authors, this medical issue affects millions of people in the United States.
In the United States, three medications have currently been licenced for the treatment of alcohol consumption disorder, and they are both useful and crucial in the care of persons who struggle with this problem.
New medications are needed to provide a wider range of therapy choices due to the complexity of biological mechanisms involved in alcohol consumption disorder. A wider variety of pharmaceutical treatments that can be tailored to a person’s needs is being developed by scientists. Mineralocorticoid receptors, which are found throughout the brain and other organs and help control fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, may be involved in alcohol use and craving, according to prior study. According to preclinical study, greater mineralocorticoid receptor signalling is a factor in higher alcohol consumption.
The current study used the drug spironolactone, which has numerous effects including inhibiting mineralocorticoid receptors, in an effort to further this line of inquiry. In clinical settings, spirolactone is used as a diuretic and to address illnesses like cardiac issues and high BP.
Researchers from NIAAA and NIDA working under the direction of co-senior author Leandro Vendruscolo, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from NIDA discovered that increasing doses of spironolactone reduced alcohol consumption in male and female animals without impairing their ability to move or coordinate, or affecting how much food or water they consumed.
Researchers led by co-senior author Amy C. Justice, M.D., Ph.D., of the Yale School of Medicine examined health records of a sizable sample of patients from the U.S. Veterans Affairs healthcare system in a separate study that was part of this team’s collaborative efforts to assess potential changes in alcohol consumption after spironolactone was prescribed for its current clinical indications (e.g., heart problems, high blood pressure).
“These are very encouraging findings,” said NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D., a co-author of the study. “Taken together, the present study argues for conducting randomized, controlled studies of spironolactone in people with alcohol use disorder to further assess its safety and potential efficacy in this population, as well as additional work to understand how spironolactone may reduce alcohol drinking.”
“Just like for any other medical condition, people with substance use disorders deserve to have a range of treatment options available to them, and this study is an exciting step in our effort to expand medications for people with alcohol use disorder,” said Nora Volkow, M.D., director of NIDA. “In addition, we must address the stigma and other barriers that prevent many people with alcohol use disorder from accessing the treatments we already have available.”