A new study has demonstrated that a plant-derived compound that is used to treat nicotine addiction also has significant effects against alcohol addiction.
Scientists from South Dakota State University are now investigating whether the compound may offer lasting treatment against alcohol relapse, craving, and perhaps alcohol-nicotine co-addiction as well.
"Alcohol and tobacco smoking are the top causes of preventable deaths in the U.S. Total economic costs for alcoholism and tobacco-related diseases are about 900 billion dollars per year in the U.S. Millions of Americans are at the heart of this crisis," said associate professor Shafiqur Rahman in SDSU's Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Rahman and his student researcher, Ravi Sajja focused their initial work on looking at new applications for the compound, cytosine, which is a key ingredient in a smoking cessation product sold in Europe.
The SDSU study examined what effect cytisine had on alcohol consumption in mice and in rats in separate trials.
"Based on these two animal models, we can conclude that cytisine reduced alcohol addiction in pre-clinical animal models. We also found that cytisine reduced alcohol addiction in a genetic model of alcoholism," added Rehman.
The results obtained from pre-clinical models show promise in dealing with long-term management of alcoholism and alcohol-nicotine co-dependence.
The results show potential in combating alcohol addiction and are published in a prestigious scientific journal, Alcohol.