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Research Finds Genetic Markers Determine Alcoholics Response to Acamprosate

Not all alcoholics become alcoholic because of alcohol abuse; there are some people who are genetically predisposed to the disease of alcoholism. As a result of this finding, new research also suggests that other genetic markers may determine which individuals will respond best to medications, like acamprosate. Acamprosate is a medication that is said to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawals as well as prevent cravings, in theory helping alcoholics stay sober long-term.

Genetic Markers Prove Acamprosate Works Better for Some than Others

Researchers have determined that people suffering from the disease of alcoholism who have certain alleles (rs2058878 and rs2300272 in the GRIN2B gene), which are defined as at least two types of altered genes found together on a chromosome, are more likely to respond to acamprosate and abstain from drinking alcohol.

“This association finding is a first step towards development of a pharmacogenetic test allowing physicians to choose appropriate treatment for specific subgroups of alcohol-dependent patients,” explained Dr. Victor Karpyak, who holds a Ph.D. and works for Mayo Clinic as a psychiatrist.  He continued, “We believe that individualized treatment selection will eliminate the need for trial-and-error approaches and improve treatment efficacy in patients with alcohol use disorders.”

Determining genetic markers for testing alcohol treatment like acamprosate is a defining moment in the field of addiction studies. Ideally, now alcoholics will have the most effective treatment available to them if they have the right genetic structure.

According to Dr. Karpyak, “Response predictors are needed to improve treatment efficacy and personalize recommendations for treatment selections.  It is expected that pharmacogenomics research will aid the discovery of such predictors.”

As science progresses, if specific genes make a person more likely to respond positively to certain medications, then more effective treatment options can be made available. Diseases like alcoholism can be treated even more efficiently in the near future.

No Cure for Disease of Alcoholism

It is vital for professionals, alcoholics, and society to keep in mind that alcoholism is a disease with no known cure.  Medications like acamprosate are used as a supplementary form of treatment, but do not entirely solve the symptoms of the disease.  Alcoholism is treatable and it is crucial for the alcoholic to remain vigilant with their recovery process, maintaining their treatment plan.  This is a disease that affects the mind and body, so ultimately the most effective form of treatment will target the source from all angles. Working a strong program of recovery is greatly encouraged by attending Twelve Step Fellowship meetings, speaking with addiction professionals, and reaching out to sober supports on a regular basis in order to achieve and sustain long-term sobriety.

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