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An anti-inflammatory medication may help with alcohol rehab.

UCLA researchers have found that an anti-inflammatory drug primarily used in Japan to treat asthma could help people overcome alcoholism. The small, double-blind, placebo-controlled laboratory study is the first to evaluate the drug, ibudilast, as a treatment for alcoholism. Study participants were given either the drug or a placebo for six consecutive days. After about a two-week break, those who took the drug were switched to a placebo for six days, and those who were taking the placebo were given ibudilast. The researchers found that the subjects' craving for alcohol was significantly lower when they were taking the medication. The research evaluated 17 men and seven women who, prior to the study, reported drinking alcohol an average of 21 days per month and drinking seven alcoholic beverages per day when they drank. According to lead author Lara Ray, a UCLA professor of psychology and director of the UCLA Addictions Laboratory, the medication can be safely administered, including when people are drinking alcohol. Side effects from the drug, which included nausea and some abdominal pain, were mild, and none of the participants dropped out of the study. Though the new study is promising, further clinical trials are needed. Ibudilast is not currently available as a treatment for alcoholism. Ray plans to test the drug on heavy drinkers who expressly want to quit drinking. Those in the current study were not trying to quit. The research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and was published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Title Annotation:NEWS BRIEFS
Publication:Healthy Years
Article Type:Clinical report
Date:Jul 1, 2017
Words:250
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