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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