The psoriasis medication apremilast could hold promise in alcohol use disorder

[Image courtesy of PubChem]

In two animal models, researchers found animals predisposed to mild-to-heavy alcohol use dropped their alcohol intake after taking apremilast, a phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor. The scientists also tested apremilast in a Phase 2a study involving 51 subjects with moderate-to-severe alcohol use disorder. The subjects reduced their alcohol consumption from an average of five drinks per day to two.

PDE4 is tied to both alcohol and nicotine dependence.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” noted co-senior author and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) professor Angela Ozburn, in a news release.

The drug was also generally well tolerated in the study.

The researchers note that apremilast is better tolerated than than older PDE4 inhibitors such as rolipram and ibudilast, which can cause nausea and vomiting.

The Journal of Clinical Investigati…

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