Document Detail

Aripiprazole: a drug with a novel mechanism of action and possible efficacy for alcohol dependence.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20201815     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Alcohol dependence is a costly and socially devastating illness. The dopamine system has received increased attention due to the consensus that dopaminergic dysfunction is at the core of the addiction process. Agents that modulate this system might be beneficial in reducing craving, reward, and relapse. Aripiprazole is a 3(rd) generation atypical antipsychotic U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and treatment-resistant major depression. Its principal mechanism of action appears to be associated with partial agonism at the D2 dopamine receptor. Nevertheless, relatively recent pre-clinical data shows that aripiprazole might exert its action by way of agonism, partial agonism, and antagonism at both dopamine and serotonin receptors. In animal models of alcoholism aripiprazole produced an overall decrease in drinking behavior. Clinical trials with aripiprazole in alcoholics have shown some positive, but inconsistent, results. Given aripiprazole's putative activity on frontal-subcortical circuits subserving reward/craving and impulsive behavior, it might prove to be beneficial for neuropsychiatric conditions in which dysregulation of reward and impulsivity, among them alcoholism, are at the core of the syndrome. This article proposes a potential role for aripiprazole in alcoholism treatment, and suggests that more randomized controlled trials should be designed at appropriate doses to better understand aripiprazole's potential role as a treatment option. More options are needed to treat alcoholics that fall into different subgroups (e.g., those with impulsive disorders), or non-responsive to available treatments. Early results with aripiprazole are promising and warrant further exploration.
Derick E Vergne; Raymond F Anton
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  CNS & neurological disorders drug targets     Volume:  9     ISSN:  1996-3181     ISO Abbreviation:  CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets     Publication Date:  2010 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-03-05     Completed Date:  2010-06-14     Revised Date:  2014-03-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101269155     Medline TA:  CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets     Country:  United Arab Emirates    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  50-4     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Alcohol-Induced Disorders, Nervous System / drug therapy*,  metabolism,  physiopathology
Alcoholism / drug therapy*,  metabolism,  physiopathology
Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology,  therapeutic use
Brain Chemistry / drug effects*,  physiology
Frontal Lobe / drug effects*,  metabolism
Piperazines / pharmacology*,  therapeutic use
Quinolones / pharmacology*,  therapeutic use
Receptors, Dopamine D2 / drug effects,  metabolism
Receptors, Serotonin / drug effects,  metabolism
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Antipsychotic Agents; 0/Piperazines; 0/Quinolones; 0/Receptors, Dopamine D2; 0/Receptors, Serotonin; 82VFR53I78/aripiprazole

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