This paper introduces the Special Section: Pharmacotherapies for the Treatment of Alcohol Abuse and Dependence
and provides a summary of patents targeting neurotransmitter systems not covered in the other four chapters.
The World Health Organization notes that alcoholic-type drinking results in 2.5 million deaths per year, and these deaths
occur to a disproportionately greater extent among adolescents and young adults. Developing a pharmacological treatment
targeting alcohol abuse and dependence is complicated by (a) the heterogeneous nature of the disease(s), (b) alcohol affecting
multiple neurotransmitter and neuromodulator systems, and (c) alcohol affecting multiple organ systems which in
turn influence the function of the central nervous system. Presently, the USA Federal Drug Administration has approved
three pharmacotherapies for alcoholism: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate. This chapter provides a summary of the
following systems, which are not covered in the accompanying chapters; alcohol and acetaldehyde metabolism, opioid,
glycinergic, GABA-A, neurosteroid, dopaminergic, serotonergic, and endocannabinoid, as well as patents targeting these
systems for the treatment of alcoholism. Finally, an overview is presented on the use of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics
in tailoring treatments for certain subpopulations of alcoholics, which is expected to continue in the future.