The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 14.5 million people ages 12 and older have alcohol use disorder, or AUD. This represents 5.3% of that population, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Researchers in Purdue University’s College of Pharmacy, the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery and Washington University in St. Louis are synthesizing compounds to treat people affected by AUD. The research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.
Richard Van Rijn leads the research program with Susruta Majumdar. Van Rijn said the compounds are based on alkaloids found in the plant Mitragyna speciosa, or kratom. These compounds could treat AUD and have less abuse potential than opium-derived opioids.
Alkaloids found within kratom, Van Rijn said, are considered less problematic than synthetic opioids or opium-derived opioids like fentanyl, morphine and oxycodeine.