Research has shown that most people with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report experiencing drinking problems. In a new study by Scripps Research, researchers explored a class of drugs that may be beneficial for preventing alcohol use disorder (AUD) among people with PTSD.
The study appeared in Neuropsychopharmacology.
The focus of the study was a protein commonly found in the brain known as FKBP5. Gene variants of FKBP5 is associated with a higher risk of alcohol use disorder and PTSD.
Two drugs were the subject of experimentation: benztropine and SAFit2. The study found that benztropine decreased alcohol preference in stressed animals tested. SAFit2 decreased alcohol drinking in stressed males and reduced excessive fear among both males and females.
“The selective FKBP5 inhibitor, SAFit2, reduced alcohol drinking in stressed males but not females, with no differences in irritability,” the researchers unveiled. “Importantly, SAFit2 decreased fear overgeneralization in stressed males and females. SAFit2 also reduced corticosterone across stressed males and females. Neither FKBP5 inhibitor changed sleep bout structure.”
“These findings indicate that FKBP5 inhibitors modulate stress-related alcohol drinking and partially modulate trauma-related behaviors. This work supports the hypothesis that targeting FKBP5 may alleviate PTSD/AUD comorbidity.”