Diabetes Drug May Help Treat Alcohol Dependence

Diabetes May Help Alcohol Dependence
Photo Courtesy: UPI

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Sept. 25 (UPI) — Researchers found that a diabetes drug could also help to treat alcohol dependence by decreasing its effects in the body, according to a new study with mice.

Liraglutide, sold as the drug Victoza, is used in patients with diabetes and obesity, and helps to regulate the glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1, involved with stimulation of insulin secretion and glucagon release.

“The results of the present study suggest that the physiological role of GLP-1 extends beyond glucose homeostasis and food intake regulation and includes modulation of development of alcohol dependence,” said Elisabet Jerlhag, a researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy, in a press release. “In addition we suggest that medications that resemble GLP-1 could be used to treat alcohol dependence in humans.”

Researchers sought to discover whether the mechanism in the body that regulates hunger could be controlled in a similar way for alcohol consumption in mice bred to have alcohol-related behaviors similar to those in humans with varying levels of alcohol use disorder.

Researchers found the drug suppressed the effects of alcohol on the dopamine system, decreasing its pleasurable effects and the motivation among the rats to drink. The GLP-1-like substance reduced consumption of alcohol in the rats by 30 to 40 percent after they’d been “drinking large quantities of alcohol for several months.”

GLP-1 is the second pharmaceutical method researchers found in recent months to be effective against alcohol dependence after the blood pressure medication isradipine was shown to suppress or erase memories that fed alcohol and cocaine addiction in mice.

Researchers in the new study reported that GLP-1 also has been previously shown to reduce desire for amphetimine, cocaine and nicotine cravings in ways similar to its effects on alcohol use.

The study is published in Addiction Biology.


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