An anti-seizure drug ezogabine was able to reduce alcohol consumption in an experimental model, researchers have found. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, may lead to more effective treatments for alcoholism.
Excessive consumption of alcohol is one of the leading causes of illness and death in the U.S. and has significant negative economic impact by limiting the productivity of workers and necessitating huge health care expenditures.
According to the researchers, this study provides the first evidence that alcoholism can be treated by this newly discovered mechanism that helps to regulate brain activity known as Kv7 channel modulation. "This finding is of importance because ezogabine acts by opening a particular type of potassium channel in the brain, called the Kv7 channel, which regulates activity in areas of the brain that are believed to regulate the rewarding effects of alcohol," explained lead author Clifford Knapp, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at BUSM. "This research indicates that drugs that open Kv7 channels might be of value in the treatment of alcoholism," he added.
The researchers believe these finding will encourage the search for other drugs that act on this system to discover more effective treatments for alcoholism.