An Emerging Antidote for Alcohol Abuse


Generally, people prefer consuming alcohol for their neurological effects which include mood elevation (getting a ‘high’). Occasional drinking could potentially transform into addiction. Complications associated with chronic alcohol abuse include anxiety disorders, withdrawal seizures, delirium tremens, Korsakoff dementia and Wernicke’s Encephalopathy. However, if the treatment strategy includes negating such effects, then the alcohol consumption itself may get limited.

There are several such pharmacotherapeutic drugs available and Levetiracetam (LEV), which is an anti-convulsant, is one of them. Levetiracetam (LEV) is generally used to treat epilepsy and it is known to have antagonistic effects on alcohol abuse behaviour. LEV acts by inhibiting certain receptors which promote ethanol seeking behaviour. Food and Drug Administration, USA (FDA) has approved the use of LEV in adults.

Edwin Meresh from USA recently reviewed the use of Levetiracetem as a neuroprotective agent for alcohol induced cognitive disorders. The study revealed that there are several reports of LEV conferring neuroprotection. Alcohol withdrawal patients on LEV were observed to have short time of ICU hospitalization and decreased mechanical ventilation time. The study emphasized that LEV is preferable for alcohol dependence patients who at risk of cognitive impairment.

Earlier reports also have found that the use of Levetiracetem leads to significant decline in alcohol intake. LEV was also found to be effective against anxiety disorders. However it may also be noted the most of the studies have warranted on further studies including in vivo experimental animal model and double blind studies for its specific effects on alcohol abuse disorders.

Studies like this are of immense significance in reducing the alcohol dependence and promoting health lifestyle particularly among those who are addicted and prone to neurological adversities.