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Neurokinin 1 Receptor Antagonism as a Possible Therapy for Alcoholism

A lab group from the National Institutes of Health (USA) investigated the role of () in alcohol dependence and treatment. is a mediator of behavioural stress responses and the stress system of the brain and is an important factor for continued alcohol (ab)use and relapse.

Preceding preclinical studies had shown that mice lacking an intact exhibit reduced voluntary alcohol consumption and increased sensitivity to the sedative effects of alcohol. The scientists now treated 25 recently detoxified alcoholic patients with an antagonist (the drug LY686017 from Eli Lilly) and 25 control subjects with a placebo.

The drug suppressed spontaneous alcohol cravings, improved overall well-being, blunted cravings induced by a challenge procedure, and attenuated concomitant cortisol responses. An MRI of the brain also suggested beneficial effects.

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