BioTie drug helps blunt thrill of gambling

Researchers say that the experimental therapy nalmefene--used to treat alcoholism--proved a powerful tonic in curbing the urge to gamble. The trial enlisted 207 people being treated for chronic gambling. It was underwritten by Finland's BioTie, which is developing nalmefene. Roughly two out of three patients taking nalmefene showed improvement, compared to one-third of the placebo group.

Nalmefene works by interrupting the opiate circuits in the brain that convey sensations of pleasure. Chronic gamblers on the drug reported that the drug blunted the thrill associated with wagering. Researchers emphasize that the drug is not a "magic bullet," but combined with counseling may be much more effective than counseling alone. A second trial with 200 patients is underway.

- read this report from the Los Angeles Times for more

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