There is an extensive literature showing that the CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist rimonabant (SR141716) decreases alcohol consumption in animals, but little is known about its effects in human alcohol drinkers.
In this study, 49 nontreatment-seeking heavy alcohol drinkers participated in a 3-week study. After a 1-week baseline, participants received either 20 mg/day of rimonabant or placebo for 2 weeks under double-blind conditions. During these 3 weeks, participants reported their daily alcohol consumption by telephone. Subsequently, they participated in an alcohol self-administration paradigm in which they received a priming dose of alcohol followed by the option of consuming either eight alcohol drinks or receiving $3.00 for each nonconsumed drink. Endocrine measures and self-rating scales were also obtained.
Rimonabant did not change alcohol consumption during the 2 weeks of daily call-ins. Similarly, the drug did not change either alcohol self-administration or endocrine measures during the laboratory session.
We conclude that the daily administration of 20 mg of rimonabant for 2 weeks has no effect on alcohol consumption in nontreatment-seeking heavy alcohol drinkers.
Keywords: Rimonabant (SR141716), Alcohol, Heavy drinkers, CB1 receptor antagonist, Alcohol self-administration, Endocannabinoids