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Recent Advances in the Discovery and Preclinical Testing of Novel Compounds for the Prevention and/or Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders

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  • The subject of this mini-review has been presented in a symposium held at the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), June 25 to June 29, 2011 (Atlanta, Georgia). Organizers and Chairs of the symposium were Richard Olsen and Daryl Davies. Introducer was Richard Olsen. Speakers were Richard Olsen, Deb Finn, Segev Barak, and Daryl Davies. Discussant was Dorit Ron.

Reprint requests: Daryl L. Davies, PhD, Titus Family Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Economics & Policy, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, 1985 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033; Tel.: 323-442-1427; Fax: 323-442-1704; E-mail: ddavies@usc.edu

Abstract

Abstract

Alcohol abuse and dependence have a staggering socioeconomic impact, yet current therapeutic strategies are largely inadequate to treat these disorders. Thus, the development of new strategies that can effectively prevent alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is of paramount importance. Currently approved medications attempt to deter alcohol intake by blocking ethanol metabolism or by targeting the neurochemical systems downstream of the cascades leading to craving and dependence. Unfortunately, these medications have provided only limited success as indicated by the continued high rates of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The lack of currently available effective treatment strategies is highlighted by the urgent call by the NIAAA to find new and paradigm-changing therapeutics to either prevent or treat alcohol-related problems. This mini-review highlights recent findings from 4 laboratories with a focus on compounds that have the potential to be novel therapeutic agents that can be developed for the prevention and/or treatment of AUDs.

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