Ibudilast is an anti-inflammatory drug used in Japan to treat asthma. In a study at UCLA, researchers found that after taking the drug for six days, study subjects showed a significant decrease in cravings for alcohol.
The 17 men and seven women involved in the study regularly drank alcohol at least three weeks in every month. They reported consuming, on average, seven drinks when they drank. The subjects were given ibudilast and placebos over a three-week period. To test the effectiveness of the drug over the placebo effect, subjects were asked to hold their favorite alcoholic drink but not consume it. Individuals on ibudilast reported being in a better frame of mind than those subjects taking placebos.
The efficacy test
Researchers studied ibudilast in terms of how it integrated into a subject’s daily life. At the outset of the study, subjects were asked to list the stressors in their lives. After five days in the study, the researchers asked the subjects to again list the stressors. As with the alcohol test, the subjects currently taking ibudilast were better equipped to deal with these factors than were the individuals still taking placebos.
Inhibiting the pleasurable effects
Individuals taking the drug reported experiencing fewer depressive episodes. Researchers speculate one reason for this is that ibudilast reduces the pleasurable effects of alcohol. Subjects on the drug are less likely to experience the dramatic highs and lows that accompany excessive drinking.
Passing the valley of death test
The UCLA researchers are encouraged by study results because they indicate that ibudilast shows every sign of passing the valley of death. This is a phrase known in pharmaceutical testing and development. Many drugs that prove effective in animal trials fail to produce the same results in humans. The subjects in the UCLA study showed few side effects. They were able to take the drug without significant interruption in their daily lives.
Sovereign Health previously reported on the connection between inflammation and depression.
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About the author
Darren Fraser is a content writer for Sovereign Health. He worked over two years as reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family’s farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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