Blood pressure tablets may stop alcohol addiction
Source: The Spirits Business
by Annie Hayes
24th June, 2015
Scientists at The University of Texas have used a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure to successfully stop alcohol addiction in rats.
The research was published in the Molecular Psychiatry journal, and tested the treatment on alcohol and cocaine addiction.
It was discovered that the drug, called Isradipine, erased the unconscious memories which prompt addiction and trigger relapses.
A team of researchers trained rats to associate either a black or white room with the use of either alcohol or cocaine – and when the addicted rats were offered the choice of going into either room, they almost always chose the room they associated with their addiction.
Researchers then gave the addicted rats of a high dose of Isradipine, and found that although the rats still preferred the room they associated with their addiction on that day, they no longer showed a preference for it thereafter, suggesting that the addiction “memories” were not just suppressed, but had gone away completely.
Hitoshi Morikawa, associate professor of neuroscience at The University of Texas at Austin, said: “Addicts show up to the rehab center already addicted. Many addicts want to quit, but their brains are already conditioned. This drug might help the addicted brain become de-addicted.”
In addition Isradipine is already labelled as safe for human use, so clinical trials on human subjects may potentially be carried out much more quickly than with drugs which are not already approved.
Earlier this year, a global study revealed that 12.1% of people in the UK are considered to have an alcohol use disorder, while Australians and US figures are much lower.