Laboratory Screening of Lorcaserin for Alcohol Use Disorder

Overview

Heavy-drinking smokers, including those with alcohol use disorder (AUD), are at increased risk for numerous negative health outcomes relative to those who use alcohol or cigarettes only. Although heavy-drinking smokers are recognized as an important subgroup for clinical and public health interventions, there are presently no approved medications for the joint indication of alcohol reduction and smoking cessation. Based on evidence that the serotonin system plays a role in alcohol and nicotine consumption and relapse, this study aims to examine whether a serotonin medication alters alcohol and nicotine responses in smokers with AUD, informing its potential utility as a candidate therapy for this clinical subgroup.

Full Title of Study: “Human Laboratory Screening of Lorcaserin in Smokers With Alcohol Use Disorder”

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Basic Science
    • Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: February 26, 2020

Detailed Description

Pharmacotherapy development remains a critical objective for reducing health and societal burdens associated with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Developing targeted treatments for specific AUD subgroups is a key objective. Among those with AUD, cigarette smokers comprise a sizable and critical subgroup with disproportionally high long-term health risks, making it a key priority to advance therapies for concurrent AUD and cigarette smoking. The serotonin (5-hydroxtytryptamine; 5-HT) system is broadly implicated in addictive behaviors, in part reflecting the role of 5-HT in modulating dopamine function. Preclinical studies of 5-HT receptor drugs have shown that targeted modulation of the 5-HT2C receptor (implicated in 5-HT-related inhibition of DA function) alters the consumption and reinstatement of addictive drugs, including alcohol and nicotine. Of the selective 5-HT2C receptor agonists, lorcaserin has superior near-term potential for repurposing as an AUD therapy, having been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for weight management. Human laboratory medication trials offer a time- and cost-effective option for validating preclinical findings prior to larger randomized controlled trials, and for testing candidate treatment mechanisms. This Phase II human laboratory screening trial will evaluate lorcaserin as a novel candidate therapy for smokers with AUD. Effects of lorcaserin vs. placebo will be evaluated in a double-blind, within-subjects, crossover study with human laboratory endpoints. This study will provide early human data on the effects of a 5-HT2C receptor agonist in relation to alcohol-related outcomes, informing its potential for further evaluation as a candidate treatment for AUD.

Interventions

  • Drug: Lorcaserin Oral Tablet
    • Lorcasering 10mg Oral Tablet (BID)
  • Drug: Placebo oral tablet
    • Placebo Oral Tablet (BID)

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Lorcaserin
    • Lorcaserin (10mg BID)
  • Placebo Comparator: Placebo
    • Placebo pill (BID)

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Laboratory alcohol consumption
    • Time Frame: Laboratory session following 7 days of medication vs. laboratory session following 7 days of placebo pills (difference score between sessions).
    • Number of drinks consumed during a 2-hour alcohol self-administration session

Secondary Measures

  • Subjective responses to alcohol
    • Time Frame: Laboratory session following 7 days of medication vs. laboratory session following 7 days of placebo pills (difference score between sessions).
    • Self-reported stimulation and self-reported sedation during alcohol self-administration, as measured by the Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale Scores for stimulation and sedation range from 0 to 10.
  • Motivation to consume alcohol
    • Time Frame: Laboratory session following 7 days of medication vs. laboratory session following 7 days of placebo pills (difference score between sessions).
    • Self-reported alcohol demand, as measured by the Alcohol Purchase Task
  • Motivation to smoke cigarettes
    • Time Frame: Laboratory session following 7 days of medication vs. laboratory session following 7 days of placebo pills (difference score between sessions).
    • Self-reported cigarette demand, as measured by the Cigarette Purchase Task
  • Daily alcohol consumption
    • Time Frame: During 7 days of medication vs. during 7 days of placebo pills (difference score between weeks).
    • Self-reported drinks per drinking day
  • Cigarette consumption
    • Time Frame: During 7 days of medication vs. during 7 days of placebo pills (difference score between weeks).
    • Number of cigarettes smoked per day

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

1. Age 21-65

2. Meeting DSM-5 criteria for current (past year) AUD, as well as current at-risk drinking (i.e., ≥14/21 drinks per week for women/men, on average), with at least four episodes of 4+/5+ drinks in the past 30 days

3. Daily smoker, defined as reporting smoking 1+ cigarettes per day, on average, over the past 12 months

4. Willingness to take study pills and complete study procedures

5. Willingness to complete lab sessions involving alcohol administration

Exclusion Criteria

1. Recent (30 day) illicit drug use (with the exception of cannabis) based on self-report or toxicology screen

2. Meeting DSM-5 criteria for a past-year substance use disorder other than alcohol use disorder, tobacco use disorder, or mild cannabis use disorder

3. Significant alcohol withdrawal, based on a Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol-revised (CIWA-Ar) score of 8+ at baseline medical visit, or any reported history of severe withdrawal symptoms (e.g., seizures)

4. Past 30-day use of nicotine replacement

5. Past 30-day use of SSRIs, other psychiatric medications, or weight control medications

6. Lifetime diagnosis of severe mental illness (e.g., psychotic or bipolar I disorder)

7. Significant medical or neurological illness based on medical staff (i.e., physician or nurse practitioner) evaluation including severe hepatic impairment or cirrhosis, insulin dependent diabetes

8. Current alcohol or smoking cessation treatment or efforts to cut down on drinking/smoking

9. Medications contraindicated for use with lorcaserin or which have a significant interaction with lorcaserin

10. Body mass index (BMI) under normal range (<18kg/m2)

11. History of significant cardiovascular conditions including history of arrhythmias or heart block, heart failure, valvular heart disease, heat attack, stroke, unstable angina

12. Abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG) results

13. Currently nursing, pregnant, or anticipating pregnancy

14. history of suicide attempt or recent suicidal ideation (i.e., Suicidal thoughts (intent or plan) in the last month)

15. Plans to travel outside of the local area during the study period, or inability to commit to entire duration of study

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 21 Years

Maximum Age: 65 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • The Mind Research Network
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Sponsor
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Christian Hendershot, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, The Mind Research Network
    • Eric Claus, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, The Mind Research Network

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