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A medication under review could contribute in three addictions

August 26, 2013
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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A third potential indication in the treatment of substance use disorders is emerging for the medication MN-166 (ibudilast), a drug that is associated with glial cell activation. Biopharmaceutical company MediciNova has announced that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) will fund a clinical trial of the medication for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

The latest news follows the company’s 2013 announcements of a Phase 2 trial of the medication for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence and a phase 2a trial of the drug for the treatment of opioid addiction. Both of those studies have received National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funding. The availability of a medication to treat stimulant dependence would represent a long-awaited breakthrough in the addiction medicine community.

Lara Ray, PhD, associate professor at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, will lead the study. “Emerging research in the field of alcohol dependence has identified some of the same molecular and cellular targets that have been implicated in drug addiction,” Ray said in an Aug. 25 news release.

Ibudilast is widely used in Asian countries, mainly to treat cerebrovascular disorders. Its actions on glial cells have made it a candidate for use in the treatment of substance use disorders.