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From Psoriasis to Alcohol Use Disorder

How Drug Side Effects Lead to Unexpected Uses

Researchers have identified a pill used to treat a common skin disease as an incredibly promising” treatment for alcohol use disorder.1

Apremilast, an anti-inflammatory medication used to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, include compounds that are likely to counteract the expression of genes known to be linked to heavy alcohol use.

Obviously this would be great if it could help to reduce the number of alcohol related deaths that occur every year.

And yet I couldn’t help but think about all the different drugs that have been designed for one use but due to their side effects have led to them being marketed for other conditions instead (or as well as).

Take viagra, a drug that was originally created to treat heart disease but actually turned out not to be great at that.2 However the one thing the participants did report was an increase in erections 3 Hence the drug became the go-to for erectile dysfunction.

I guess not all side effects are bad then!

  1. Oregon Health & Science University, 2023. Pill for skin disease may also curb excessive drinking, study shows. ScienceDaily. LINK↩︎

  2. Caroline Criado Perez, 2019. Invisible Women. Random House.↩︎

  3. And yes, all the trial participants were men. But that’s for a different post.↩︎

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