Could Antibiotics Treat Alcohol Use Disorder?

In the fight against Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), there are currently three FDA-approved drugs on the market which are considered suitable for use in combination with therapies or behavior modification programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. However, none of these medications is considered significantly effective in treating AUD and all have high relapse rates. For this reason, drugs and therapies which help in the treatment of AUD are still critically needed.


Image Credit

According to the WHO, alcohol dependency is a medical emergency. As the organisation points out, it is not a simple problem with a straightforward answer. Alcohol use is a social activity but abuse takes many forms. Even with small amounts above guideline levels, regular use can lead to mental and behavioral disorders, while binge drinking causes lasting changes in pain perception. Furthermore, reducing alcohol intake during a detox produces severe withdrawal symptoms, which include pain. But at the heart of the problem is alcohol’s addictive nature.

A New Way Forward

However, recent research indicates that technologies which identify the genes which make an individual susceptible to neuroinflammation could be the answer. Neuroinflammation has long been associated with alcohol’s effect on addiction processes, but knowing who may be affected by this process has not. Following current medical knowledge, a tetracycline antibiotic, such as Minocycline, which has proven anti-inflammatory actions, could be used to control against the action of addiction to alcohol.

The Race for a Cure

Alcoholism is one of the greatest public health problems of our time. Billions of dollars are spent annually on the search for a magic pill or cure to this debilitating disease. However, with the FDA 510k clearance process on new medications and therapies taking up to six months to complete, many new possible medications are getting stuck in a backlog of administration. Companies such as T P R G can reduce the clearance process to around 100 days, which is one way efficiencies in the system can be made.

Saving Lives and Families

AUD and high levels of alcohol consumption cause brain and liver damage that cannot be repaired, and everybody in our society knows an individual or family affected by alcohol abuse. These findings mean that if an antibiotic could be used to break this cycle of dependency, the effects on society would be enormous.