Introduction to the special issue "Pharmacotherapies for the Treatment of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence" and a summary of patents targeting other neurotransmitter systems

Richard L. Bell, Kelle M. Franklin, Sheketha R. Hauser, Feng C. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


This paper introduces the Special Section: Pharmacotherapies for the Treatment of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence and provides a summary of patents targeting neurotransmitter systems not covered in the other four chapters. The World Health Organization notes that alcoholic-type drinking results in 2.5 million deaths per year, and these deaths occur to a disproportionately greater extent among adolescents and young adults. Developing a pharmacological treatment targeting alcohol abuse and dependence is complicated by (a) the heterogeneous nature of the disease(s), (b) alcohol affecting multiple neurotransmitter and neuromodulator systems, and (c) alcohol affecting multiple organ systems which in turn influence the function of the central nervous system. Presently, the USA Federal Drug Administration has approved three pharmacotherapies for alcoholism: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. This chapter provides a summary of the following systems, which are not covered in the accompanying chapters; alcohol and acetaldehyde metabolism, opioid, glycinergic, GABA-A, neurosteroid, dopaminergic, serotonergic, and endocannabinoid, as well as patents targeting these systems for the treatment of alcoholism. Finally, an overview is presented on the use of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics in tailoring treatments for certain subpopulations of alcoholics, which is expected to continue in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-112
Number of pages20
JournalRecent patents on CNS drug discovery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012



  • Addiction
  • Agonist
  • Alcohol-use disorders
  • Allosteric modulator
  • Antagonist
  • Hormone
  • Metabolism
  • Neuromodulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Drug Discovery

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