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Alcoholism Cured By Anti-seizure Drugs

Update Date: Apr 17, 2014 07:08 PM EDT

Anti-seizure medication may cure alcoholism, according to researchers.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine found that the anti-seizure drug ezogabine, helped reduce alcohol consumption in a new study.

Researchers believe the latest findings may help pave the way to more effective treatments for alcohol addiction.

The findings are important because excessive alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of illness and death in the United States. Alcoholism also negatively impacts the economy by limiting the productivity of workers and requiring huge health care expenditures.

Researchers said the latest study is the first to prove that alcoholism can be treated by this newly discovered mechanism that assists in regulating brain activity called the Kv7 channel modulation.

"This finding is of importance because ezogabine acts by opening a particular type of potassium channel in the brain, called the Kv7 channel, which regulates activity in areas of the brain that are believed to regulate the rewarding effects of alcohol," lead author Clifford Knapp, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a news release.

"This research indicates that drugs that open Kv7 channels might be of value in the treatment of alcoholism," he added.

Researchers noted that more studies are needed to understand the effects of ezogabine and how it influences actions on Kv7 channels.

"Because of the close proximity of the doses at which ezogabine reduces drinking and those at which it is reported to produce motor impairment, it is still important to continue to investigate how selective the actions of ezogabine are on the neuronal mechanisms that control alcohol consumption," explained Knapp.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

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