Researchers find anti-seizure drug may reduce alcohol consumption

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have discovered that the anti-seizure drug ezogabine, reduced alcohol consumption in an experimental model. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, may lead to more effective treatments for alcoholism.

Excessive consumption of is one of the leading causes of illness and death in the U.S. and has significant negative economic impact by limiting the productivity of workers and necessitating huge .

According to the researchers, this study provides the first evidence that alcoholism can be treated by this newly discovered mechanism that helps to regulate brain activity known as Kv7 channel modulation. "This finding is of importance because ezogabine acts by opening a particular type of potassium channel in the brain, called the Kv7 channel, which regulates activity in areas of the brain that are believed to regulate the rewarding effects of alcohol," explained lead author Clifford Knapp, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at BUSM. "This research indicates that drugs that open Kv7 channels might be of value in the treatment of alcoholism," he added.

Previous studies conducted by this research group helped to establish the value of anti-seizure drugs as medications to treat alcoholism. However, further research needs to be conducted to establish that the effects of this drug result primarily from its actions on Kv7 channels. "Because of the close proximity of the doses at which ezogabine reduces drinking and those at which it is reported to produce motor impairment, it is still important to continue to investigate how selective the actions of ezogabine are on the neuronal mechanisms that control ," said Knapp.

The researchers believe these finding will encourage the search for other drugs that act on this system to discover more effective treatments for alcoholism.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New leads on the causes of alcoholism

Apr 04, 2011

In order to develop new medications for alcoholism, researchers need to understand how alcohol acts on the brain's reward system. A previously unknown mechanism has been shown to block the rewarding effects of alcohol on ...

Study identifies gene for alcohol preference in rats

Oct 01, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Selectively bred strains of laboratory rats that either prefer or avoid alcohol have been a mainstay of alcohol research for decades. So-called alcohol-preferring rats voluntarily consume much greater amounts ...

Recommended for you

Social host laws tied to less underage drinking

Oct 28, 2014

Teenagers who live in communities with strict "social host" laws are less likely to spend their weekends drinking at parties, according to a study in the November issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Book details epidemic of alcohol abuse among retirees

Oct 24, 2014

After studying 1,100 retirement-age blue collar workers, Peter Bamberger urges Baby Boomers to "anticipate things happening unexpectedly so that you are more psychologically prepared … if you're pushed ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.