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Thursday, January 13, 2011

UCSF Researchers Believe They Have Found a Drug To Cure Alcoholism

Posted By on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 5:48 PM

click to enlarge Curing Alcoholism
  • Curing Alcoholism
Leave it to Americans to try to cure alcoholism with a pill.

UCSF researchers believe a muscle relaxant already out on the market can drastically reduce the urge to binge drink.

Researchers from UCSF's Ernest Gallo Clinic used drunk rats to prove their hypothesis. They studied two groups of rats: one that was forced to consume excessive alcohol and another that "drank socially."

What they found was the rats that were binge drinking had a dramatically reduced urge to consume alcohol after researchers fed them Chlorzoxazone, a FDA approved muscle relaxant that's been on the market for more than 40 years, said Woody Hopf, adjunct assistant professor with UCSF.

They saw that in the binge-drinking group, the muscle relaxant made the neurons less excitable in the part of the brain that controls cravings and addictions. For the social drinkers, there was no change in their brain activity.

"You could take it in a critical time of craving, that's when your brain is going crazy," Hopf said. "This might work for the alcoholic who is in abstinence...who during a critical or stressful period is in danger of going back to drinking."

If you are feeling the need to drink, don't go try to get the pills

just yet. Hopf said they want to complete a human trial -- for ethical reasons -- before encouraging doctors to prescribe alcoholics the pills.

But he says it won't be long before alcoholics will be able to substitute one drug with another.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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