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Cardiac drug shows potential as treatment for alcohol use disorder




news release

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Drugs for heart disease and high blood pressure may also be effective in treating alcohol use disorders, according to new research by the National Institutes of Health and fellow researchers. It presents converging evidence from cohort studies in humans, suggesting that the drug spironolactone may play a role in reducing drinking. It was led by scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut. The report of the new findings is molecular psychiatry.

“Combining findings from three species and different types of data and seeing similarities in their data gives us confidence that we are addressing something of potential scientific and clinical importance. These findings support further study of spironolactone as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorders, a condition that affects millions of people in the United States.” Labs at NIDA and NIAAA and one of the senior authors.

Current, 3 Drugs Approved for Alcohol Use Disorder in the US, and they are an effective and important aid in the treatment of people with this condition. Is required. Scientists are working to develop a larger menu of pharmaceutical treatments that can be tailored to individual needs.

Previous research has shown that mineralocorticoid receptors are present throughout the brain and other organs, help regulate fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, and may be involved in alcohol use and cravings. Preclinical studies suggest that higher mineralocorticoid receptor signaling contributes to increased alcohol consumption. Spironolactone is used clinically as a diuretic to treat conditions such as heart problems and high blood pressure.

In experiments conducted in mouse and rat models of heavy drinking, NIAAA and NIDA researchers, led by NIDA co-lead author Leandro Vendruscolo, found that increasing doses of spironolactone reduced alcohol consumption in men and women. I discovered that Female animals do not affect food and water intake without causing locomotion or coordination problems.

In a parallel study, part of this team’s collaboration, researchers led by co-lead author Amy C. Justice, MD, Ph.D. I investigated. U.S. Veterans Administration healthcare system to assess potential changes in drinking after spironolactone is prescribed for current clinical indications (heart problems, hypertension, etc.). They found a significant association between spironolactone treatment and self-reported reductions in alcohol consumption. Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test – Consumption, a screening tool. Of note, the greatest effect was observed among those who reported dangerous/severe episodic alcohol consumption before starting spironolactone treatment.

“These are very encouraging findings,” said Dr. George F. Koob, director of the NIAAA and co-author of the study. “In summary, this study aims to conduct a randomized controlled trial of spironolactone in people with alcohol use disorders to further evaluate the safety and potential efficacy of spironolactone in this population, and that spironolactone I advocate doing additional research to understand how to reduce drinking.”

“Like other medical conditions, people with substance use disorders need to have access to a variety of treatment options. It’s an exciting step in our work,” said Nora Volkow. , MD, Director of NIDA. “Additionally, we need to address the stigma and other barriers that prevent many people with alcohol use disorders from accessing treatments that are already available.”

About the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary US agency that conducts and supports research into the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol use disorders. NIAAA also disseminates its research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at:

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research into the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute conducts a wide variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. For more information about NIDA and its programs, please visit:

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):NIH, the United States medical research agency, has 27 laboratories and centers and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…turning discovery into health®





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