A pill for binge drinkers?

A pill for binge drinkers?

You may have had those moments. You are out with a group of friends and you end up drinking one too many beers. Before you know it, you’re feeling the aftermath of consuming too much alcohol and you may feel nauseous or have a hangover. The short-term side effects may be doing more damage than you realize.

Now, a new drug is being tested by a team of European scientists who say they found a way to reduce the long-term side effects of binge drinking, especially by teenagers.

Published in the Journal of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the findings revealed that brain functions are impaired by alcohol and it is accompanied by inflammation and loss of cells in the brain.

Scientists at universities in Belgium, Italy and England developed a compound called ethane-beta-sultam. It is an effective form of medication that easily enters the blood stream and works to reduce the damage to brain cells from alcohol abuse, study leaders say.

When ethane-beta-sultam is administered to rats on a binge drinking regime, it reduces the brain cell loss and inflammation that normally results from lots of heavy binge drinking, leading to symptoms such as decreased memory loss. These effects can cause long-term damage, particularly to teenagers, whose brains are still in the process of development.

“One of things that alcohol does is destroy some of the brain cells which are important for navigation and orientation,” study leaders said in statement. “But a combination of alcohol and our compound could overcome this damage.”

Even though this drug may do wonders for those affected by binge drinking, some doctors aren’t enthusiastic about the new pill.

“We need to help people who binge drink understand the dangers of this behavior,” says Dr. Adam Rubinstein, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Providing a drug that makes them feel more secure or safe while binge drinking makes no sense.”

Over-consumption of alcohol can have severe ramifications including raising blood pressure and causing damage to the liver, just to name a few.

Experts admit more research is needed. There is a possibility that such compounds could also help with the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, which also result from a loss of brain activity.

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. ““We need to help people who binge drink understand the dangers of this behavior…Providing a drug that makes them feel more secure or safe while binge drinking makes no sense.” says Dr. Adam Rubinstein.

    Appalling. Dr Rubinstein needs to start referring his alcoholic patients to other, more qualified physicians. This attitude of allowing suffering patients to suffer unduly, to chastise them through pain and discomfort, is an unreasonable faux “moral” stance that has no business in contemporary medicine.

    The hope that an alcoholic suffering withdrawal symptoms, or a binge drinker suffering the consequences of alcohol toxicity will moderate future behavior because of the current ordeal is belied by hundreds of years of direct experience, and unsupported by any study in the literature.

    Taking such a position just reveals complete ignorance of fact and a poor grasp of the physician’s role. Not to mention a lack of compassion and empathy. While a patient is in the midst of torment, undergoing genuine anguish and accumulating genuine physical damage, it is not the time for a moralizing, patronizing, “you did this to yourself” sermon. It is time for the MD to practice his art and alleviate the pain, mitigate the damage.

  2. Clarisse De la Rosa December 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm · Reply

    This is sad alcoholism itself is very sad, it can really ruin your life and health. In my experience, I, myself is an alcohol addict but luckily i am sober now, i have been reading online forums and blog to help and support myself. ill give you nice pages to visit to help you and others that is reading this comment.

    http://www.recoveryconnection.org/connect/alcoholism/

    http://4eversober.blogspot.com/

    http://alcohol.addictionblog.org/

  3. I’m not so sure this pill is a good idea- I worry that people may see this medication as a way to continue with their unhealthy habits. Also, binge drinking doesn’t take as many drinks as you may think. Something like more than 3 drinks in a night is considered binge drinking.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.