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No magic pill to cure alcohol dependence yet

Date:
September 21, 2017
Source:
Society for the Study of Addiction
Summary:
A new study has found no reliable evidence for using nalmefene, naltrexone, acamprosate, baclofen or topiramate to control drinking in patients with alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder.
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A new study published by the scientific journal Addiction has found no reliable evidence for using nalmefene, naltrexone, acamprosate, baclofen or topiramate to control drinking in patients with alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorder. At best, some treatments showed low to medium efficacy in reducing drinking, but those findings were from studies with a high risk of bias. None demonstrated any benefit on health outcomes.

The study pooled the results from 32 double-blind randomised controlled trials representing 6,036 patients, published between 1994 and 2015. The studies compared the effects of oral nalmefene (n=9), naltrexone (n=14), acamprosate (n=1), baclofen (n=4) and topimarate (n=4) against placebo.

Many of the studies provided unreliable results due to risk of bias (potential exaggeration of the effects of the drug). Twenty-six studies (81%) showed an unclear or high risk of incomplete outcome data due to the large number of withdrawals. Seventeen studies (53%) showed an unclear or a high risk of selective outcome reporting, as they did not include a protocol registration number, which would allow another researcher to check whether all outcomes were reported.

Lead author Dr Palpacuer states: "Although our report is based on all available data in the public domain, we did not find clear evidence of benefit of using these drugs to control drinking. That doesn't mean the drugs aren't effective; it means we don't yet know if they are effective. To know that, we need better studies. Researchers urgently need to provide policymakers with evidence as to which of these drugs can be effectively translated into a real harm reduction strategy."


Story Source:

Materials provided by Society for the Study of Addiction. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Clément Palpacuer, Renan Duprez, Alexandre Huneau, Clara Locher, Rémy Boussageon, Bruno Laviolle, Florian Naudet. Pharmacologically controlled drinking in the treatment of alcohol dependence or alcohol use disorders: a systematic review with direct and network meta-analyses on nalmefene, naltrexone, acamprosate, baclofen and topiramate. Addiction, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/add.13974

Cite This Page:

Society for the Study of Addiction. "No magic pill to cure alcohol dependence yet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170921090309.htm>.
Society for the Study of Addiction. (2017, September 21). No magic pill to cure alcohol dependence yet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 17, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170921090309.htm
Society for the Study of Addiction. "No magic pill to cure alcohol dependence yet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170921090309.htm (accessed July 17, 2024).

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