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Health Agencies Update
September 25, 2013

Genes Predict Success for Experimental Alcohol Treatment

JAMA. 2013;310(12):1217. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.278520

Patients who have a particular combination of genes are more likely to benefit from an experimental medication for alcohol dependence, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a range of genetic variations may contribute to alcohol dependence and that targeting medications based on an individual’s genetic makeup may boost treatment success (Kuehn BM et al. JAMA. 2011;305[10]:984-985). Variations in the gene that encodes the serotonin transporter protein have been implicated in a subset of patients with the disorder. Additionally, previous studies have suggested that ondansetron, an antinausea medication often given after chemotherapy, may help patients with certain variations in the serotonin transporter gene.