Asthma Drug May Reduce Alcohol Cravings

Alcoholics by definition have difficulty controlling themselves around alcohol. They are prime candidates for DUI and are the population most likely to get convicted of it. Yet science is trying to find ways to help alcoholics deal with their addiction so they can avoid landing in jail. A study at UCLA may point to a new path.

An asthma drug used in Japan has been shown in a small study to help alcoholics control their cravings. The drug is called Ibudilast. 24 people were split into two groups. Half of the group was given the drug and the other half a placebo for six days. Two weeks later, the groups were switched. All of the participants finished the study and reported fewer alcohol cravings and increased mood.

The researchers also administered alcohol intravenously during two points in the study to see if it would be well-tolerated. There was no adverse reaction to mixing Ibudilast and alcohol. Few side effects were reported, which was an important goal for the researchers. Ibudilast was shown to reduce alcohol consumption in rats but it was unknown if there would be significant side effects in humans.

The researchers hope to move to larger trials. If this drug is approved to treat alcoholism, it could greatly reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.

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