News from CEXS-UPF
In year 2013, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the use of the drug nalmefene (Selincro®) to treat alcoholism. Years later, scientists at Heidelberg University (Germany) demonstrated that nalmefene also reduced the desire to use cocaine in people who were addicted to this drug. A study recently published in the British Journal of Pharmacology that counts with the participation of Rafael Maldonado, Professor of Pharmacology at the Pompeu Fabra University, shows that nalmefene reduces the craving for alcohol present in individuals who are under the influence of cocaine.
Cocaine causes an increase of approximately 40% in alcohol consumption. The scientific team led by Jose Antonio Lopez Moreno, researcher at the Department of Psychobiology at the Complutense University of Madrid, observed the effect that nalmefene produced in rats that had consumed cocaine and could self-administer alcohol. The result was the reduction by 70% of alcohol consumption linked to the effects of cocaine. In addition, the scientific team analyzed some epigenetic changes associated with alcohol consumption and found that the nalmefene reduced the epigenetic changes. Thanks to this genetic study, the research team has discovered the possibility of using epigenetic genes as novel biomarkers of alcohol consumption: HDAC, proteins that regulate the silencing of many genes. The abuse of alcohol causes an increase in the expression of histone deacetylases in peripheral blood. This increase is diminished after treatment with nalmefene.
Javier Calleja-Conde, Victor Echeverry-Alzate, Elena Giné, Kora-Mareen Bühler, Roser Nadal, Rafael Maldonado, Fernando Rodríguez de Fonseca, Antoni Gual, Jose Antonio López-Moreno. Nalmefene is effective in reducing alcohol seeking, treating alcohol-cocaine interactions and reducing the alcohol-induced histone deacetylases gene expression in blood. British Journal of Pharmacology.