The Scripps Research Institute, a world-renowned California-based biomedical facility and Ely Lily, a drug company, claims to have come up with a chemical that would help prevent relapses and reduce the effects of hangovers.
The synthetic compound, called MTIP, blocks the action of the brain chemical Cortico tropin-Releasing Factor (CRF), according to a joint animal study conducted by the two institutions. The results, as revealed in the Journal of Neuroscience, show that the CRF system becomes overactive in animals with a history of alcohol dependence, increasing the risk of relapse.
The researchers say MTIP can be given orally, and reaches the brain in sufficient amounts to block more than 90% of CRF receptors. But MTIP does not accumulate in other organs, including the liver, in ways that would cause concerns about potential side effects, they add. With nine out of ten alcoholics tending to hit the bottle even after counseling or treatment, any medical aid to check them would be welcome, psychologists say. However, further research has to be conducted on the efficacy of the new compound.
The researchers say that, in addition to alcoholism, MTIP might be useful in the treatment of depression or anxiety disorders, which also report increased CRF levels.