Studies from our laboratory showed that upregulation of glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and cystine-glutamate exchanger (xCT) expression with ceftriaxone, β-lactam antibiotic, in the brain was associated with attenuation of ethanol consumption. In this study, we tested clavulanic acid, which is another β-lactam compound with negligible antimicrobial activity, on ethanol consumption and expression of GLT-1, xCT and glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) in male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Clavulanic acid has the central β-lactam pharmacophore that is critical for the upregulation of GLT-1 and xCT expression. We found that clavulanic acid, at 5mg/kg (i.p.) dose, significantly attenuated ethanol consumption and ethanol preference in P rats as compared to vehicle-treated group. This effect was associated with a significant increase in water intake in clavulanic acid treated group. Importantly, we found that clavulanic acid increased the expression of GLT-1 and xCT in nucleus accumbens. However, there was no effect of clavulanic acid on GLAST expression in the nucleus accumbens. Clavulanic acid treatment did not upregulate the expression of GLT-1, xCT and GLAST in prefrontal cortex. These findings revealed that clavulanic acid at 20-40 fold lower dose than ceftriaxone can attenuate ethanol consumption, in part through upregulation of GLT-1 and xCT expression in the nucleus accumbens. Thus, we suggest that clavulanic acid might be used as an alternative option to ceftriaxone to attenuate ethanol drinking behavior.