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Drunk Drug = No More Hangovers, Professor Tells BBC

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    LONDON - Scientists are developing a drug, which can make you feel drunk without any of the health risks or hangovers.

    The revolutionary new drug is being hailed as the e-cigarette for booze as it gives the feelings of intoxication and pleasure but without damaging the body or the same level of addiction.

    Apparently, the new drug will also have an antidote, so the 'drug drinkers' can take another drug that will cancel out the effects, meaning they'd be safe to drive.

    It is being developed by former Government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt ; however the team at Imperial College London can not get funding for the drug. Shockingly, the drinks industry is not too keen on it.

    However Professor Nutt explained that this was key to help alcoholism. He explained to BBC's Today that 10 per cent of drinkers become addicted, and that around one and a half million people are killed every year by alcohol.

    One of the obvious problems with the drug compared to the e-cigarette however is the social aspect. While smokers can still carry on the learned action of smoking a cigarette with an electronic one, taking a pill is not the same as sitting with a glass of wine.



    By Yahoo.com, 11/11/13

    Source: http://za.news.yahoo.com/hangovers-scientists-develop-drunk-drug-104100244.html

    Photo: mensfitness.com

    Author Bio

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. Raol Duke
  2. Motorway
    I am guessing that you mean the effects from ^ are already the same as the drunk drug? Minus the addiction potential.
  3. Raol Duke
    Yeah ive always described benzos to uninformed people as alcohol in a pill. There are definitley some differences between the two still so this endeavor isnt pointless, not to mention it wouldnt be meant as a theraputic like benzos
  4. Beenthere2Hippie
    Actually, the drug in question has nothing to do with benzodiazepines. It's an entirely different substance, currently being developed by Professor David McNutt of the Imperial College London’s Neuropsychopharmacology unit, the same gentleman who conducted psilocybin drug-benefit trials on PTSD patients, in conjunction with the Beckley Foundation, back in 2009.

    It's the real deal, when funds become available for further research.
  5. venkecske
    Actually, this is old news. As background info, excerpts from Nutt's earlier paper:​

    Alcohol alternatives - a goal for psychopharmacology?
    Journal of Psychopharmacology 20(3) 318-20 (2006) ​

    "What about a safer alcohol? This has been tried in several ways previously using drugs that act in a similar way to alcohol but are free of some of its immediate problematic effects, such as gastric irritation, and do not produce the longer term effects such as cirrhosis, cardiomyopathy and dementia. The first was clomethiazole [Heminevin], a sedative hypnotic drug that was developed as an alternative to the barbiturates for sleep induction but which became used for alcohol withdrawal and other excitable states. Some therapists began to use it to help alcoholics abstain in the community although this soon lost appeal because of the development of dependence on the drug with dose escalation (see Ling-ford-Hughes et al., 2004). However in the absence of any controlled trials it is a moot point whether the harms of clomethiazole were worse than those of the alcohol for which it was being substituted...

    Similar considerations apply to the benzodiazepines, which are the current mainstay of withdrawal treatment and have often been used as a form of substitution therapy especially for alcoholics with marked anxiety disorders who have not responded to non-benzodiazepine treatments for their anxiety (see Lingford-Hugheset al., 2004). The third agent – gammahydroxybutytrate (GHB) was not licensed in the UK but has for the past decade been used as an alcohol substitute in Italy on account of its better safety than continued drinking. It is also used as an anaesthetic agent there and in some other European countries...

    The last decade has seen huge advances in our understanding of the GABA-A benzodiazepine receptor (Nutt and Malizia, 2001) and partial agonists (PA) of various degrees have been synthesized and some tested in humans as potential anxiolytics (Potokar and Nutt, 1994). Many of these show little or no interactions with alcohol so the risk from combined use would be low. They also show little sedation even in overdose and few signs of dependence or withdrawal in animals are reported. Moreover they seem to have low to zero abuse propensity and have the additional safety benefit over alcohol that an overdose can be instantly reversed by administering an antagonist e.g. flumazenil. The future offers even greater potential if the emerging understanding of the differential functions of the various GABA-A receptor subtypes leads to the development of subtype-selective PAs (Nutt, 2005)....​

    Glutamate receptors offer potential new drug targets for alternatives to alcohol though with less certainty than the GABA-A system at present as so few glutamatergic drugs have been studied in humans. However one could envisage that an NMDA antagonist might be somewhat alcohol-like and although it would probably impair memory like alcohol it could still be safer than alcohol in many other aspects, though reversal with an antagonist would not be possible. Another approach involves the development of drugs that act at G-protein coupled glutamate receptors metabotropic receptors) where some compounds with anxiolytic potential have already been identified (Swanson et al., 2005)."
  6. Pondlife
    I've got mixed views about professor Nutt. On the one hand he's done some good work like the 2007 "Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse" paper in the Lancet, but I also get the feeling that his commercial interests sometimes get in the way of his independence.

    He's got some skin in the game with this alcohol replacement drug, and the article reads a bit like a PR piece to keep it in the spotlight.
  7. Beenthere2Hippie
    Yup. It does read like PR. Agreed. And he does have some "skin in the game." No doubt. I just wanted to clarify it's a new drug and not an existing benzodiazepine. Thanks both Pondlife and venkecske for your input, as it helps greatly.

  8. Alien Sex Fiend
    I'm suspicious about this. Like Naloxone?
  9. Ubercheese
    why is that suspicious? yes just like naxalone, some sort of antagonist. Personally I don't think its an idea that will come into fruition. first they have to make this new drug and then make/find a competitive antagonist, seems a bit too optimistic. and there will still be side-effects.
  10. Pondlife
    Here's a news article about what looks like the same thing from December 2009:

    Alcohol substitute that avoids drunkenness and hangovers in development

    An alcohol substitute that mimics its pleasant buzz without leading to drunkenness and hangovers is being developed by scientists.

    The new substance could have the added bonus of being "switched off" instantaneously with a pill, to allow drinkers to drive home or return to work.

    The synthetic alcohol, being developed from chemicals related to Valium, works like alcohol on nerves in the brain that provide a feeling of wellbeing and relaxation.

    But unlike alcohol its does not affect other parts of the brain that control mood swings and lead to addiction. It is also much easier to flush out of the body.

    Finally because it is much more focused in its effects, it can also be switched off with an antidote, leaving the drinker immediately sober.

    The new alcohol is being developed by a team at Imperial College London, led by Professor David Nutt, Britain's top drugs expert who was recently sacked as a government adviser for his comments about cannabis and ecstasy.

    He envisions a world in which people could drink without getting drunk, he said.

    No matter how many glasses they had, they would remain in that pleasant state of mild inebriation and at the end of an evening out, revellers could pop a sober-up pill that would let them drive home.

    Prof Nutt and his team are concentrating their efforts on benzodiazepines, of which diazepam, the chief ingredient of Valium is one.

    Thousands of candidate benzos are already known to science. He said it is just a matter of identifying the closest match and then, if necessary, tailoring it to fit society’s needs.

    Ideally, like alcohol, it should be tasteless and colourless, leaving those characteristics to the drink it’s in.

    Eventually it would be used to replace the alcohol content in beer, wine and spirits and the recovered ethanol (the chemical name for alcohol) could be sold as fuel.

    Professor Nutt believes that the new drug, which would need licensing, could have a dramatic effect on society and improve the nation's health.

    The NHS report Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2009 found more than 800,000 alcohol-related admissions to hospitals in 2007-08 – and more than 6,500 deaths – at a cost to the service of £2.7bn a year.

    Some charities estimate that the toll could be up to five times higher. Drink is, for example, a factor in 40 per cent of fatal fires, 15 per cent of drownings, 65 per cent of suicides and 40 per cent of domestic abuse. It also has other costs, including 17 million lost working days a year, worth about £20bn to the economy.

    “I’ve been in experiments where I’ve taken benzos,” said Professor Nutt. “One minute I was sedated and nearly asleep, five minutes later I was giving a lecture.

    “No one’s ever tried targeting this before, possibly because it will be so hard to get it past the regulators.

    “Most of the benzos are controlled under the Medicines Act. The law gives a privileged position to alcohol, which has been around for 3,000 years. But why not use advances in pharmacology to find something safer and better?”

    Getting the drug approved could be hard for the team as clinical trials are expensive, and it is not clear who would pay for them, according to Professor Nutt.

    He said that the traditional drinks industry has not shown any interest, however some countries might be persuaded to sponsor the team.

    Some countries have more liberal regimes than others, though, and Professor Nutt thinks Greece or Spain, within the EU, could lead the way.

    The latest Home Office performance figures showed that more than one in four people believe that alcohol is blighting their community.

    A survey of every police force area in England and Wales found that 26 per cent of those polled “perceived people being drunk or rowdy in public placed to be a problem in their area” – a slight increase from last year.

    The fears over the affects of alcohol range from urban to rural communities, with the worst hit being Manchester, South Wales, London, Northumbria and Gwent.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/h...drunkenness-and-hangovers-in-development.html
  11. Beenthere2Hippie
    And we can well understand why. The chances of the established wine and alcoholic beverage industries investing in a substance replacement for their centuries-old methods of making drink is as likely as Shell Oil funding research into wood waste and nuts for fuel as alternatives to oil (*currently being studied and UCLA, Berkeley).

  12. enquirewithin
    Scientists are developing a drug which mimics all the positive effects of being drunk without any of the health risks, addiction – or hangovers.

    The “serious revolution in health” is being pioneered by the former Government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt, and has been described as doing for alcohol what the e-cigarette has done for tobacco use.

    It targets neurotransmitters in the brain directly, giving the taker feelings of pleasure and disinhibition that are in some cases “indistinguishable” from the effects of drinking. Yet because it acts directly, it can also be immediately blocked by taking an antidote – with “drinkers” potentially able to then drive or return to work straight away.

    Prof Nutt is one of the country’s leading neuropsychopharmacologists, but he and his team at Imperial College London have hit a stumbling block – perhaps unsurprisingly, no one in the drinks industry is willing to fund the drug’s development.

    Speaking to the Dragon’s Den presenter Evan Davis on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, Prof Nutt appealed for investors to come forward and support his ground-breaking research.

    He said: “I think this would be a serious revolution in health... just like the e-cigarette is going to revolutionise the smoking of tobacco.

    “I find it weird that we haven't been speaking about this before, as it's such a target for health improvement.”

    One of the biggest benefits to Prof Nutt’s alcohol substitute would be to remove addiction as a drinking problem. The scientist said 10 per cent of drinkers become addicted, and that addicts account for most of the one and a half million people killed by alcohol every year.

    The Professor said that the drug would be taken in the form of a range of cocktails, and added: “I’ve done the prototype experiments myself many years ago, where I’ve been inebriated and then it’s been reversed by the antagonist.

    “That’s what really gave us the idea. There’s no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating the brain.”

    It targets neurotransmitters in the brain directly, giving the taker feelings of pleasure and disinhibition that are in some cases “indistinguishable” from the effects of drinking. Yet because it acts directly, it can also be immediately blocked by taking an antidote – with “drinkers” potentially able to then drive or return to work straight away.

    Prof Nutt is one of the country’s leading neuropsychopharmacologists, but he and his team at Imperial College London have hit a stumbling block – perhaps unsurprisingly, no one in the drinks industry is willing to fund the drug’s development.

    Speaking to the Dragon’s Den presenter Evan Davis on the BBC’s Today programme this morning, Prof Nutt appealed for investors to come forward and support his ground-breaking research.

    He said: “I think this would be a serious revolution in health... just like the e-cigarette is going to revolutionise the smoking of tobacco.

    “I find it weird that we haven't been speaking about this before, as it's such a target for health improvement.”

    One of the biggest benefits to Prof Nutt’s alcohol substitute would be to remove addiction as a drinking problem. The scientist said 10 per cent of drinkers become addicted, and that addicts account for most of the one and a half million people killed by alcohol every year.

    The Professor said that the drug would be taken in the form of a range of cocktails, and added: “I’ve done the prototype experiments myself many years ago, where I’ve been inebriated and then it’s been reversed by the antagonist.

    “That’s what really gave us the idea. There’s no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating the brain.”

    ADAM WITHNALL Monday 11 November 2013


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...ment-for-alcohol-substitute-drug-8931946.html
  13. el duderino
    Well, I mean if it really delivers anything close to what is promised, that would be an RC that a lot of people would probably buy, could serve as a medication to deal with alcohol withdrawal, could potentially save millions of lives.
  14. el duderino
    Also, in the article he is quoted as saying: "I have sampled both new forms. After exploring one possible compound I was quite relaxed and sleepily inebriated for an hour or so, then within minutes of taking the antidote I was up giving a lecture with no impairment whatsoever."-which means they have already developed the prototype (actually five different variations according to the article) intoxicant and antidote combo, so producing more of this is just a matter of knowing precisely what they are...
  15. enquirewithin
    Alcohol Without the Hangover? It's Closer Than You Think

    Science now allows us to develop a safer way to get drunk. But before we can sober up in minutes, the drinks industry needs to embrace this healthier approach.

    Imagine enjoying a seasonal drink at a Christmas party without the risk of a hangover the next day, or being able then to take an antidote that would allow you to drive home safely. It sounds like science fiction but these ambitions are well within the grasp of modern neuroscience.

    Alcohol is both one of the oldest and most dangerous drugs, responsible for about 2.5 million deaths worldwide, which is more than malaria or Aids. The reasons for this are well known: alcohol is toxic to all body systems, and particularly the liver, heart and brain. It makes users uninhibited, leading to a vast amount of violence and is also quite likely to cause dependence, so about 10% of users get locked into addiction. If alcohol was discovered today it could never be sold as it is far too toxic to be allowed under current food regulations, let alone pharmaceutical safety thresholds. In this health-conscious age, it is odd that these aspects of alcohol are rarely discussed.

    The only proven way to reduce alcohol harms is to limit consumption through increased pricing and limiting availability. Most governments have shied away from this because of pubic opinion and fears of lost tax income – the notable exception being Scotland with its minimum pricing strategy. An alternative strategy that offers greater health benefits would be to make a safer version of alcohol.

    We know that the main target for alcohol in the brain is the neurotransmitter system gamma aminobutyric acid (Gaba), which keeps the brain calm. Alcohol therefore relaxes users through mimicking and increasing the Gaba function. But we also know that there are a range of Gaba subsystems that can be targeted by selective drugs. So in theory we can make an alcohol surrogate that makes people feel relaxed and sociable and remove the unwanted effects, such as aggression and addictiveness.

    I have identified five such compounds and now need to test them to see if people find the effects as pleasurable as alcohol. The challenge is to prepare the new drink in a fashion that makes it as tasty and appealing. This is likely to be in the form of a cocktail, so I foresee plenty of different flavours. The other great advantage of this scientific approach to intoxication is that if we target compounds that affect the Gaba system, then it is possible to produce other drugs that could be sold alongside the alcohol substitute as an antidote.

    I have sampled both new forms. After exploring one possible compound I was quite relaxed and sleepily inebriated for an hour or so, then within minutes of taking the antidote I was up giving a lecture with no impairment whatsoever.

    All that is needed now is funding to test and put them on the market. A few contacts within the alcohol industry suggest they are interested but do not need to engage until this new invention becomes a threat to their sales. This is a similar situation to that of the tobacco companies when e-cigarettes were being developed. They stood back at first but now own many of the companies making the safer alternatives to cigarettes. Likewise, without investing in a new approach to alcohol, we shall not realise the enormous health potential of a safer alternative.

    David Nutt is currently the Edmond J. Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Centre for Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Imperial College London. He was chair of the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs until sacked by Alan Johnson. He is the author of the book Drugs: Without the Hot Air.

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/alcohol-without-hangover-its-closer-you-think
  16. Pondlife
    Isn't licensing going to be a bigger a issue than research funding though? Even if they get the investment to perform the development work, would the UK government allow the drug to be sold?
  17. enquirewithin
    Good point. The booze industry will be trying very hard to stop such a drug being sold-- it could potentially cost them billions in lost profits.

    The fact that people's health and lives could be saved by it certainly would not interest them!
  18. OneMoreTime
    "Professor Nutt and The Holy Grail" :)

    Very excited about the impact this might have, even though I no longer drink.
  19. Szandbwoy
    Only just found out about this today. At the moment I'm not really a big drinker. Whenever I have a drink, I always seem to be going for a piss every 10 minutes. With this proposed chemical tho, I could get the feeling of being drunk and be able to mix in with mates who are genuinely pissed up, rather than be the odd one out and be sat sober while everyone else is pissed (which is horrible), all without having to piss every 10 minutes. See, it could be good for some scenarios.
  20. el duderino
    More info from the article "How Synthehol Works" by Stephanie Watson

    "David Nutt from the University of Bristol proposes making an alcohol alternative that contains a GABA-A partial agonist. It would bind to a GABA-A receptor, but only partially activate it, triggering a weaker response. Because a partial agonist takes the place of a true agonist, it blocks the agonist from latching on to the receptor and causing the full effect.
    In theory, an alcohol alternative could contain a chemical agent that would bind only to the receptors that affect the positive effects of drinking (relaxation, pleasure), but not to the receptors that affect the negative effects (nausea, memory loss). In other words, if you drink it, you'd still get a "buzz" without having some or all of the harmful effects of alcohol on your body. And when the body breaks down this alcohol alternative, it would not produce acetaldehyde, the toxic substance that leads to hangovers and other ill effects of drinking. And, if people drink too much of this alcohol alternative, they could take the benzodiazepine antidote flumazenil (brand name Annexate), which would instantly help them sober up so they could drive home. Flumazenil is sometimes used in hospital emergency rooms to awaken patients who are unconscious for no apparent reason."

    So that's a little more info. Anyone know of some gaba A partial agonists worth trying?
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