Building better strategies to develop new medications in Alcohol Use Disorder: Learning from past success and failure to shape a brighter future.


School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology Unit, University of Camerino, 62032 Camerino, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a chronic disease that develops over the years. The complexity of the neurobiological processes contributing to the emergence of AUD and the neuroadaptive changes occurring during disease progression make it difficult to improve treatments. On the other hand, this complexity offers researchers the possibility to explore new targets. Over years of intense research several molecules were tested in AUD; in most cases, despite promising preclinical data, the clinical efficacy appeared insufficient to justify futher development. A prototypical example is that of corticotropin releasing factor type 1 receptor (CRF1R) antagonists that showed significant effectiveness in animal models of AUD but were largely ineffective in humans. The present article attempts to analyze the most recent venues in the development of new medications in AUD with a focus on the most promising drug targets under current exploration. Moreover, we delineate the importance of using a more integrated translational framework approach to correlate preclinical findings and early clinical data to enhance the probability to validate biological targets of interest.


Alcoholism,Brain imaging,CRF,Ethanol,Opioids,PET,fMRI,