A University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researcher this month presented preliminary data indicating that the phosphodiesterase inhibitor ibudilast decreased alcohol craving and improved mood in individuals with alcohol dependence. Ibudilast's anti-neuroinflammatory properties have been studied for some time for a possible role in the treatment of addictions, including methamphetamine addiction, but the medication has not yet been approved for use in the U.S.
Lara Ray, PhD, associate professor in UCLA's Department of Psychology, gave a Research Society on Alcoholism Young Investigator Awardee presentation June 24 at the organization's Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. She presented preliminary interim data from the first 22 patients in an ongoing trial of ibudilast for alcohol dependence. The study involves patients receiving the medication (at a dose of up to 100 mg per day) or placebo for 7 days, then crossing over to the other treatment condition for 7 days after a 7-to-10 day break between stages.
The preliminary data have indicated no medication-related dropouts or serious adverse effects, according to a news release from drug maker MediciNova, Inc.
Ibudilast, which attenuates activated glia cells, has been used for more than two decades in Japan and Korea to treat asthma and post-stroke complications.