In the United States, close to 88,000 people die annually from some kind of alcohol-related cause. The third preventable cause of death is alcohol, according to The National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism. 17.6 million people in America suffer from alcohol dependency or abuse.
V.V.N Phan Babu Tiruveedhula from the University of Wisconsin, was reported by R&B as saying,
“Alcohol us a major problem in the U.S. Alcohol abuse costs almost $220 billion to the U.S economy every year. That’s a shocking number. We need…better treatment right now.”
In five to six years, Tiruveedhula could develop a new chemical compound that could help with alcohol cravings. He was present at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and was able to present the research he and his team has accumulated.
“It’s very exciting. We found a new way to treat alcoholism, rather than the traditional ways.”
It’s very hard to prescribe medication to people who suffer from alcohol abuse because people have different underlying issues. Researchers do know that by releasing dopamine, alcohol affects the brain’s reward system. Current drugs only focus on this fact and try to decrease those rewards that are released from alcohol based stimuli. According to Tiruveedhula, those opioid antagonists have the possibility of inciting adverse effects like the inability to feel pleasure, as the drug anhedonia has shown.
By synthesizing 3-PBC HCL, a beta-carboline compound, Tiruveedhula was able to diminish the intake of alcohol in rats that were bred to want alcohol. He was also able to to make the process easier. He simplified the steps from 8 steps to two steps, and this was he was able to increase the production yield tenfold.
James Cook, who is a chemist for the University of Wisconsin, as well as Harry June, a psychopharmacologist from Howard University have also added their expertise and helped work on the compound in the lab.
They were able to come to the conclusion that this compound, taken orally, doesn’t cause the same side effects as others do.
“What excites me is the compounds are orally active, and they don’t cause depression like some drugs do,”
Cook reported saying.
These effects have encouraged the men to test this compound further in additional studies. They have also researched other beta-carboline compounds as well.