A sleeping giant: Suvorexant for the treatment of alcohol use disorder?

Erin J. Campbell, Nathan J. Marchant, Andrew J. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There are currently 3 FDA approved treatments for alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the USA, opioid receptor antagonists such as naltrexone, disulfiram and acamprosate. To date, these have been largely inadequate at preventing relapse at a population level and this may be because they only target certain aspects of AUD. Recently, suvorexant, a dual orexin receptor antagonist, has been FDA approved for the treatment of insomnia. Importantly, sleep disruptions occur during both acute and prolonged alcohol exposure and sleep deprivation is a potent factor promoting relapse to alcohol use. In this mini review article, we explore the therapeutic potential of suvorexant for the treatment of AUD. In particular, we highlight that in addition to altering the motivational properties of alcohol, suvorexant may also address key physiological components associated with alcohol withdrawal and abstinence, such as sleep disruptions, which should in turn help reduce or prevent relapse.
Original languageEnglish
Article number145902
JournalBrain Research
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2020

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