Facts & Figures

Alcohol addiction: Swedish discovery could change lives

Last week, Swedish researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy released a study suggesting that a medication currently used for diabetes and obesity could be a valuable tool in the treatment of alcohol dependence, writes Daily Maverick.

The academy, based at the University of Gothenburg, showed that some interference with the hormone GLP-1 could be a useful target for treating alcohol dependence which – according to a statement from the university – “is an entirely novel aspect”.

“Usually, dopamine is released in the brain’s reward centre in response to drinking alcohol, which leads to a sense of euphoria. The GLP-1-like substance prevents the ability of alcohol to increase dopamine in reward areas in the mice, suggesting that they no longer experience a reward from alcohol,” the statement reads. “In addition, the diabetes medication caused the rats to decrease their alcohol intake, as well as reduc(ing) the motivation to drink alcohol in rats that were bred to drink a lot of alcohol. The medication also prevents relapse drinking in rats, which is major problem for alcohol dependent individuals.”

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