Gabapentin combined with naltrexone for the treatment of alcohol dependence

American Journal of Psychiatry, 04/06/2011

Anton RF et al. – The addition of gabapentin to naltrexone improved drinking outcomes over naltrexone alone during the first 6 weeks after cessation of drinking. This effect did not endure after gabapentin was discontinued.

Methods

  • 150 alcohol-dependent individuals
  • Randomly assigned to 16-week course of naltrexone alone (50 mg/day [N=50]), naltrexone (50 mg/day) with gabapentin (up to 1,200 mg/day [N=50]) added for first 6 weeks, or double placebo (N=50)
  • All participants received medical management

Results

  • During first 6 weeks, naltrexone-gabapentin group had longer interval to heavy drinking than naltrexone-alone group, which had an interval similar to that of placebo group; had fewer heavy drinking days than naltrexone-alone group, which in turn had more than placebo group; and had fewer drinks per drinking day than naltrexone-alone group and placebo group
  • These differences faded over remaining weeks of study
  • Poor sleep associated with more drinking in naltrexone-alone group but not in naltrexone-gabapentin group
  • History of alcohol withdrawal associated with better response in naltrexone-gabapentin group

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