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Swedish alcoholism drug awaits human study

Vivian Tse · 14 Feb 2011, 13:43

Published: 14 Feb 2011 13:43 GMT+01:00

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The drug influences the brain's dopamine reward system, which is activated by alcohol, and has demonstrated positive results in experiments on rats.

"We really believe in the concept. It can have a positive effect because it has clearly proved so in results in experiments on animals," Helga Höifödt Lidö, who successfully defended the research last week, told The Local on Monday.

Eighty-five percent of the rats in the study demonstrated positive results from using the drug. Current drugs to fight alcoholism only work on a minority of patients.

Höiföd Lidö was awarded a PhD in neuropharmacology following her defence. She is anxious to have the drug tested on humans. While the school had previously begun a clinical study on humans, it was suspended.

"A clinical study with our partners was under way. Unfortunately, during the process, they were acquired by a major pharmaceutical company and it led to several clinical trials being shut down, including this study," said Höifödt Lidö.

However, she is confident that funding will be found to resume the study later this year.

"The preclinical findings were remarkable, incomparable to other substances screened for alcoholic intake reducing agents and superior to anything else I've ever seen. It has great potential in humans," she said.

"The safety profile is okay. It has already been tested in man for schizophrenia to good effect. There are no reports of serious side effects, no abuse risk for these compounds, it's all about getting a clinical trial up and running," she added.

Höifödt Lidö has researched determining glycine levels for five years as part of her PhD research in conjunction with broader studies in the field

Story continues below…

The human study was a multi-centre undertaking involving alcoholics in Europe and Australia. When it was suspended late last year, 150 patients were enrolled, with more to follow.

It had already been under way for six months, the expected duration of participation for each subject, but patients enrolled at different times.

Several clinical studies were closed immediately before the results were analysed following the takeover due to financial reasons, according to Höifödt Lidö.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:37 February 14, 2011 by UScitizen
"Eighty-five percent of the rats in the study demonstrated positive results from using the drug."

Thank goodness we no longer have to worry about rats attacking after getting drunk on fermented fruit!

And yes, several clinical trials were shut down. People want a beer on Saturday night!!
19:58 February 14, 2011 by mojofat
...and still no cure for cancer...
21:14 February 14, 2011 by Swedesmith
Sorry to be cynical but there is too much money in the treatment of cancer.
21:46 February 14, 2011 by Gordy
"A new drug to combat alcoholism developed may become reality in the future"

The Local, Sweden's news in BAD English strikes again!
04:52 February 15, 2011 by UScitizen
I guess the reporters are Swedes trying to write in Ehglish. You think that's bad? You should see some of my writungs in Swedish!
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