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New Drug To Cure Binge Drinking Mimics the Effects of Ecstasy

January 1, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp
New Drug To Cure Binge Drinking Mimics the Effects of Ecstasy Image courtesy of buddhabarhotelprague.com

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A new drug could be developed to stop people from binge drinking, while still giving them a buzz.
The inventor of the banned substance mephedrone has filed for a legal patent for the new substance, which is being called a ‘legal high’.

The drug, is called MEAI, and it’s effects gives users the feeling of intoxication from alcohol and replaces it with a euphoric feeling more similar to the party drug ecstasy while it limits the amount of alcohol the user would drink.

Scientists at Imperial College London have plans to develop what they deem as a ‘Chaperon’, using the compound as a solution to binge drinking.

One in ten deaths in working age adults are due to excessive alcohol use and it accounts for 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide.

Professor David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist at Imperial College London and who worked as Government drugs adviser for the British government, believes Chaperon drugs, which could reduce the desire to drink may provide a solution to the problem.

Nutt believes that MEAI could be a ‘binge mitigator’, which would be taken taken at the beginning of a night out on the town and would take effect after a couple of hours, the drug’s effects would prevent the urge to drink more but will still giving them a pleasurable feeling, which is the reason people want to drink to begin with.

The drug’s designer, a mathematician, who goes by the pseudonym Dr. Z, has agreed to give the patent to Professor Nutt’s charitable research group DrugScience, in order to help fund research on Chaperons.

Professor Nutt told Mail Online: ‘The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recently signed off on a drug called Selincro for use by alcoholics as it stops the loss of self control they suffer from.

‘That got us thinking about another way to approach the problem which would be to take away people’s desire to drink. What tends to happen is that people go out for just a couple of pints but after having them something changes in their brain and they then end up drinking far more than they intended, causing them to end up in trouble.”

Nutt added: ‘We are looking for ways to stop this switch from flipping in the first place. We are looking at around 80 substances and MEAI is one of those.’

Some of the potential substances researched by Professor Nutt were previously patented and used as drugs to treat such conditions including depression, however never made it to the open market.

Now Nutt is hoping to use the compounds for other uses.

Presently, around 40 people, including its inventor Dr. Z, have used MEAI, however laboratory tests or clinical trials have not been conducted.

One individual who tried the drug said the experience was not enjoyable while others have said it made them feel euphoric.

Many of the users reported losing the desire to drink within two hours of taking the substance.

A journalist for New Scientist, tried MEAI and said the substance actually it took five hours before drinking alcohol became ‘repulsive’

MEAI ( 5-methoxy-2-aminoindane) is a ring shaped compound known as an aminoindane.
It is structurally similar to two other ‘legal highs’ invented by Dr David Nichols from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana – MDAI and MMAI – that mimic the euphoric effects of ecstasy.

However, MEAI also looks similar to PMA another drug, known to be highly toxic.

In neurotransmitters, just a small change to the structure and chemical groups on a compound can produce dramatic differences in how they work.

Drug laws in both Europe and North America ban the use and sale of only specific substances, which means new compounds developed by chemists can be sold without fear of breaking the law, unless the substances are added to the list of banned substances.

Production of new drugs make it difficult for law enforcement to keep up by making them illegal.

The main issue of legal highs came to the public’s attention after a series of deaths among users.

Mephedrone, created by Dr. Z and sold over the internet as plant food and caused at least one death and has been connected to at least 13 others.

However, if used properly, some who believe these new substances could provide new forms of treatment.

Professor Nutt is hoping to conduct scientific tests on the effects of chaperones in animals before attempting clinical trials in human subjects to see if it could be useful.

‘We are hoping to do testing in animal models and build up to clinical trials, However, all of this costs a lot of money and we need to raise funding for it, which is what we are hoping the MEAI patent will help with.” ‘ Professor Nutt said.

In an interview with the New Scientist, Nutt added: ‘We have to see this as a opportunity to reduce harms rather than a new drug that has hit the market.”

However, Dr Nichols was a bit skeptical and warned that prediction how drugs like MEAI would behave in the brain and whether they might also do more harm than good, it is extremely difficult, telling the New Scientist: “There really is no good way to predict biological activity in a completely novel structure.”

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