Baclofen for the treatment of alcohol dependence and possible role of comorbid anxiety

K. C. Morley*, A. Baillie, S. Leung, G. Addolorato, L. Leggio, P. S. Haber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: To conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of baclofen in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Methods: Out of 69 participants consecutively screened, 42 alcohol-dependent patients were randomized to receive placebo, baclofen 30 mg/day or baclofen 60 mg/day for 12 weeks. All subjects were offered BRENDA, a structured psychosocial therapy for alcohol dependence that seeks to improve motivation for change, enhance strategies to prevent relapse and encourage compliance with treatment. Results: Intention-to-treat analyses revealed that alcohol consumption (heavy drinking days, drinks per drinking day) significantly reduced across all three groups during the treatment period. There were no statistically significant advantages to treatment on time to first heavy drinking day (relapse) (P = 0.08), nor time to first drink (lapse) (P = 0.18). A post hoc analysis stratifying according to whether there had been a comorbid anxiety disorder, revealed a beneficial effect of baclofen 30 mg/day versus placebo on time to lapse and relapse (P < 0.05). There was also a beneficial effect for baclofen 60 mg/day relative to placebo on time to relapse in this comorbid group (P < 0.05). Both doses of baclofen were well tolerated. There were no serious adverse events. Conclusions: In spite of the small sample for a 3-arm clinical trial, this study suggests a specific role of baclofen in alcohol-dependent individuals with comorbid anxiety. Replication in larger, fully-powered studies is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-660
Number of pages7
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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