Tandospirone May be Able to Reverse the Effects of Alcohol on the Brain
Studies conducted at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) show that the drug tandospirone may be able to reverse the effects of alcohol on neurogenesis, and help prevent relapse. This new finding suggests other possible applications of the drug.
In a recent study on mice, tandospirone successfully “reversed the effects of fifteen weeks of binge-like alcohol consumption on neurogenesis.” It was able to stop “anxiety-like behaviours associated with alcohol withdrawal” and the mice showed “significant decrease in binge-like alcohol intake” when later offered alcohol (QUT, 2018).
Neuroscientist Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation says, “We know that with heavy drinking you are inhibiting your ability to grow new neurons, brain cells. Alcohol is specifically very damaging for neurons.” Previous studies, she continues, were able to show that “tandospirone improves brain neurogenesis, but this is the first time it has been shown that it can totally reverse the neurogenic deficits induced by alcohol.” She says this new knowledge about the drug’s potential “opens the way to look at if neurogenesis is associated with other substance-abuse deficits, such as in memory and learning, and whether this compound can reverse these” (QUT, 2018).
Tandospirone, known commercially as Sediel, has been available in Japan and China for the treatment of generalized anxiety and depression. It reportedly has no adverse side effects, is nonsedative, and not addictive. Because of the known connection between depression/anxiety and alcoholism, this drug can help a patient deal with the “negative emotions [which] can spring up during withdrawal” helping to break the cycle and prevent a recovering alcoholic from relapse (Irving, 2018).
Queensland University of Technology (QUT). (2018). Drug shown to reverse brain deficits caused by alcohol. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180208104233.htm
Irving, M. (2018). Anti-anxiety drug found to undo some of alcohol’s ill effects on the brain. Retrieved from https://newatlas.com/tandospirone-anxiety-drug-alcohol-brain-damage/53332