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Insomnia medication shows promise in treatment for alcohol use disorder

Insomnia medication shows promise in treatment for alcohol use disorder
Psychological and physical health status and quality of life increased over the treatment period (A). Psychological distress improved over the 13-week treatment period (B). Self-reported craving also reduced over the treatment period (C). Credit: Clinical Case Reports (2024). DOI: 10.1002/ccr3.8740

Researchers are recommending full-scale human trials after an insomnia drug helped a man withdraw from his 16 drinks-a-day addiction.

A Florey-led case report, published today in Clinical Case Reports, describes how a 31-year-old man, who consumed 16 a day, had poor liver function and suffered from insomnia, withdrew from alcohol with the help of the insomnia drug suvorexant (Belsomra).

Minister for Education and Medical Research Hon Ben Carroll said the results demonstrate how Victoria's world-leading medical research sector is improving people's lives.

"We know addiction can have a detrimental impact on someone's quality of life and . That's why the work of The Florey's medical researchers is so important, helping to uncover new ways to treat alcohol use disorder."

Minister for Mental Health Hon Ingrid Stitt said, "We know addiction remains a serious health issue across Victoria—that is why we are continuing to invest in research that helps us better understand how we can help people access the right support."

Florey Professor Andrew Lawrence said the patient was treated at St Vincent's Melbourne's Drug and Alcohol withdrawal unit (under the care of Professor Yvonne Bonomo) for one week and continued the treatment at home for three months.

"After 13 weeks on suvorexant he'd had a complete turnaround. He had stopped drinking all together, his liver function had improved and he no longer had insomnia. This is a remarkable result."

Professor Lawrence said insomnia features strongly in both withdrawal and relapse to alcohol consumption.

"Sleep-associated problems affect close to half of all people with alcohol use disorder. Yet sleep disruption is an often-overlooked symptom that can hamper recovery from alcohol use disorder."

Professor Lawrence said suvorexant is a dual orexin receptor antagonist, which suppresses wakefulness by essentially blocking the brain's orexin system.

"Although this case report is of just one person's experience, we already have abundant evidence in preclinical animal models supporting a role for the orexin system in alcohol use disorder."

Professor Lawrence said the patient's experience suggests dual orexin receptor antagonists could be a new weapon to help treat alcohol use disorder.

"The next step should be to conduct larger to test whether suvorexant helps a broader group of people who have both alcohol use disorder and ."

More information: Erin J. Campbell et al, The dual orexin receptor antagonist suvorexant in alcohol use disorder and comorbid insomnia: A case report, Clinical Case Reports (2024). DOI: 10.1002/ccr3.8740

Provided by Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Citation: Insomnia medication shows promise in treatment for alcohol use disorder (2024, May 3) retrieved 12 June 2024 from
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