Scientists create most pointless pill ever - The Buzz-Kill Pill

By Beeker · Aug 13, 2008 · ·
  1. Beeker
    Meet the Buzz-Kill Pill
    Eric Bland, Discovery News

    Aug. 11, 2008 -- A new pill stops the euphoric effects of alcohol, but it won't prevent a hangover the next day.

    By blocking a key receptor involved in stress, scientists at Oregon Health and Science University are testing a drug that stops the happy feelings brought on by a drink of alcohol.

    Scientists say the drug could stop not only alcoholics from relapsing, but it could also stop pleasurable feelings gained from cocaine and even food.

    "This drug has great potential to treat not only alcoholism, but other stress-related disorders as well," said Tamara Phillips, a professor at Oregon Health and Science University and a co-author of the study, which appeared recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    The drug, called CP 154,526, was originally developed and donated for testing by drug giant Pfizer, maker of the popular drug Viagra.

    CP 154,526 physically binds to a receptor in the brain called corticotrophin-releasing factor one (CRF1). The receptor blocks corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF), a chemical released by alcohol that is thought to create pleasurable feelings.

    "It's like you put the key in a lock but don't turn it," said Phillips. "Then you break the key off so no one can use it."

    In the study, the researchers gave the drug to mice that had been given a steady supply of alcohol. Mice given the drug were less likely to gesture for another drink, compared to mice that didn't receive the drug.

    The effect doesn't last long -- less than an hour -- but it doesn't have to, according to the scientists.

    "The euphoria you experience with alcohol is extremely rapid and mostly happens within the first 15 to 30 minutes after your first drink," said Phillips. "Without that initial euphoric reaction, you are less likely to have that second, third or fourth drink."

    While the drug should prevent users from feeling happy from alcohol, it doesn't block the other effects of alcohol -- such as the inability to walk in a straight line or slurred speech. It also won't help with withdrawal symptoms or hangovers.

    The researchers hope to enter human clinical trials in the next year. If the drug is approved for human use, the patient would have to ingest the drug soon after or before their first drink for it to be effective.

    CP 154,526 isn't the only drug that could help alcoholics stop drinking. Naltroxone, which affects opioid receptors, is often effectively used in combination with counseling to stop relapse, but for some people it has little or no effect.

    Phillips and her collaborators are testing their drug specifically for treating alcoholism, but she says that since CP 154,526 binds to a receptor involved in stress and anxiety more generally, it could help treat a number of overly-pleasurable pursuits.

    That view is backed up by George Koob, a scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., who also studies CP 154,526 but was not involved in the OHSU study.

    "CRF antagonists [like CP 154,526] could help reestablish homeostasis involved with hedonic disregulation," said Koob. "This drug could be of use in many different situations."

    Other studies have shown that CRF helps regulate the pleasurable effects of nicotine, heroin and cocaine, said Koob.

    "In every system there is a yin and a yang, and the same goes for hedonic activities," he added. "With lots of pleasure there is usually a crash as well."

    Share This Article


  1. Bajeda
    This could be useful for cocaine addicts. Probably not entirely useless, though it doesn't sound like something you'll find on the black market any time soon!
  2. Richard_smoker
    hmmm...sounds very similar to the effects of natrexolone on alcohol the case of naltrexolone (and also buprenorphine--as it is a partial antagonist like naltrexolone--the full antagonist), you still get drunk, but the something about the pleasurable need to keep drinking...actually just kinda the happy thoughts associated with relaxing to a cold beer...all these thoughts are stamped out by blocking the opiate receptor...

    but this is NOT the opiate's something very different altogether...if i'm not mistaken, i believe that this is very similar, because this must shut down natural (endogenous) synthesis of opiates (endorphins)...why do i think that? because 1st of all, corticotrophin is released along with melanin and endorphin...they're all 3 basically cut from the same precursor peptide...and if one were to block the formation of endorphin, they would get the same effect as BLOCKING the endorphin, i think this is nothing more than a fancy-dancy form of taking naltrexolone for the same thing.

  3. crackcityrocker
    i dont see how this could help alcoholics. if one got it in his mind to relapse, wouldnt he just... uh.... not take the pill? it only lasts an hour...
  4. fnord
    Cant wait for phase 3 starts when all forms of plesure will be regulated,our brain chemicals monitored to make sure weer not out being "too" happy,enjoying life too much taking too much plesure in a favorite meal or sport.
  5. Paracelsus
    Relapse isn't a conscious, rational decision. It's an instinctive move. No abstinent alcoholic says, "OK, I think I'm gonna relapse into alcoholism today." I think that this research is highly valuable. Even if no extended-release formulation (or a better drug) is possible, this could be very useful for alcoholics when cravings arise unexpectedly.
  6. cra$h
    seems like a pretty pointless drug. you get drunk, take the pill, lose all the fun sensations of being drunk, but you're still tipsy? sounds like a hangover. Stupid for alcoholics, but I guess it could work for coke/heroin addicts.
  7. aerozeppelin123
    Don't jump to conclusions, nobody is suggesting everyone has to take this pill, or that pleasure should be 'regulated'. I think it could be very useful in helping addicts get off alcohol/cocaine or whatever, as the rapid onset of pleasurable feelings is a big contributor to the reinforcing behaviour these drugs can lead to. So if you stop those feelings, the drug loses a lot of its addictive power.
  8. cra$h
    if the person is willing to pay out money to have a pill that would stop happyness in the event that another drug like coke is taken, they'd be willing to save the money and not buy either.
  9. Orchid_Suspiria
    But it sounds like a starter step in the piggies campaign to outlaw pleasure of all kinds.
  10. Ontherooftops
    this is what makes this drug truly useless in a rehabilitation situation. A recovering addict must learn to find his joy in other ways, and if can inhibit euphoria in such a wide range of subjects as they allude to, including food, it would seem it would greatly hinder a subject's recovery.
  11. cra$h
    But it's going to take a lot of repititon. Swim just had a horrible opiate experience (had cherry juice in the stomach, and bad cwe) but still loves his hydrocodone. A coke head would be snorting just as a past time, and snorting's a big part of the fun!
  12. Stephenwolf
    this and the amphetamine-antibodies mentioned here: could easily start becoming mandatory after x age to stop drug use in people, it's not entirely unrealistic to expect the US gov. if not any other to take that step closer to truly totalitarianism.

    (no such thing as unhealthy paranoia when it comes to not being overly controlled)
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!