Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages in the brain and it is known that people with alcohol and substance abuse problems have abnormalities in the way they produce and process it. Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotic drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia which affects dopamine levels and a team of researchers in the U.S. conducted a trial to see whether it would be useful in treating alcoholism. The study of 295 people divided them into one group who received the aripiprazole and another who received a placebo. More people dropped out of the aripiprazole group than the placebo group and the aripiprazole group also suffered more side effects. The mean percentage of days abstinent was higher in the placebo group. The percentage of subjects without a heavy drinking day and the length of time to the first drinking day were about the same between the two groups.
Anton, Raymond F. ... [et al] - A randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole for the treatment of alcohol dependence Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology February 2008, 28(1), 5-12