Does the Neuroimmune Modulator Ibudilast Alter Food Craving? Results in a Sample With Alcohol Use Disorder

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Abstract

Objective:

Ibudilast (IBUD) is a neuroimmune modulator that inhibits phosphodiesterase-4 and -10 and macrophage migration inhibitory factor. A randomized, placebo-control, crossover human laboratory trial advanced IBUD development for alcohol use disorder and found that IBUD reduced tonic levels of alcohol craving. Given the importance of considering medication effects on other appetitive behavior, the present study tested the effect of IBUD (50 mg bid) on food craving.

Method:

The present study was a secondary data analysis of the trial of IBUD in non-treatment seekers with alcohol use disorder (N = 19). High-fat/high-sugar food craving was measured daily. Moreover, because substantial literatures show that small alcohol doses and psychological stress increase eating of high-fat/high-sugar food, craving for high-fat/high-sugar food was measured after alcohol infusion and stress reactivity.

Results:

Results indicated that IBUD did not alter tonic high-fat/high-sugar food craving. Alcohol infusion did not generally increase high-fat/high-sugar food craving but psychological stress did. Likewise, IBUD did not affect high-fat/high-sugar food craving after alcohol infusion but IBUD did increase high-fat/high-sugar food craving after psychological stress. Follow-up analyses revealed that, among individuals with lower depressive symptomatology, IBUD compared to placebo heightened the effect of psychological stress on high-fat/high-sugar food craving.

Conclusions:

These results advance the development of IBUD for addiction indications by demonstrating that IBUD compared to placebo does not suppress other appetitive responses, namely craving for high-fat/high-sugar food among individuals with alcohol use disorder.

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