Pharmacotherapy for Adolescent Alcohol Use Disorder
CNS Drugs, 06/26/2012
Clark DB – While there is a paucity of empirical information on the applicability of these pharmacotherapy approaches in adolescents, cautious application of these medications in selected cases in the context of systematic psychosocial interventions is warranted to promote abstinence and address associated problems.
- For adolescents, pharmacotherapy for AUD may target alcohol withdrawal symptoms, alcohol consumption reinforcement properties, craving or co-morbid mental disorders.
- While uncommon among adolescents, severe alcohol withdrawal may require the closely monitored application of benzodiazepines.
- Disulfiram alters alcohol metabolism and has been shown to increase abstinence in adolescents with AUD, but sufficient motivation to maintain abstinence is needed for this approach to be appropriate.
- Medications to reduce alcohol craving, including naltrexone and acamprosate, may also assist some adolescents in maintaining abstinence.
- Adolescents with AUD typically also have co-morbid mental disorders and problems with other substances.
- Co-morbid mental disorders, such as major depressive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, may be addressed by pharmacotherapy.
- The potential for interactions between prescribed medications and alcohol or illicit substances necessitates patient education and monitoring.