clipped from www.msnbc.msn.com
Drug used to help smokers quit could aid in kicking other habits, study says
A single pill appears to hold promise in curbing the urges to both smoke and drink, according to researchers trying to help people overcome addiction by targeting a pleasure center in the brain.
The drug, called varenicline, already is sold to help smokers kick the habit. New but preliminary research suggests it could gain a second use in helping heavy drinkers quit, too.
Pfizer Inc. developed the drug specifically as a stop-smoking aid and has sold it in the United States since August under the brand name Chantix. Varenicline works by latching onto the same receptors in the brain that nicotine binds to when inhaled in cigarette smoke, an action that leads to the release of dopamine in the brain’s pleasure centers. Taking the drug blocks any inhaled nicotine from reinforcing that effect.
this drug, which has already proved safe for people trying to stop smoking, is now a potential drug to fight alcohol dependence,