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Seizure Drug May Help Cut Alcohol Use

AlcoholFor alcohol-dependent individuals who do not wish to stop drinking completely, but instead significantly reduce their alcohol consumption, treatment with the anticonvulsant topiramate may help.[1]

A recent randomized controlled trial of 138 adults who were heavy drinkers showed that those who received topiramate at a dose of 200mg for 12 weeks were five times less likely to experience a heavy drinking day compared to those who received a placebo.1 In addition, those who received topiramate also had significantly more abstinent days.1

Researchers also found that the effect on heavy drinking days after topiramate treatment was only shown in participants who carried the rs2832407 genotype.1 Therefore, this could help researchers identify patients who will most likely respond to this treatment.1

Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Henry R. Kranzler, M.D. said, “We had two main results. First, topiramate is useful to help people reduce drinking at a lower dosage, and it was well tolerated. Second, it is possible with an SNP genotype, which is easy to get done these days, to predict who will respond better to topiramate.”1

Data released in 2010 stated that 23 percent of all U.S. residents older than 11 consumed five or more drinks in one setting during the previous month.1 Another seven percent did so at least five days per month.1

Kranzler said, “Despite this, few heavy drinkers seek out treatment—especially those who do not meet the clinical criteria for an alcohol use disorder but whose drinking causes substantial damage to individuals, their families, and the community.”1

Previous studies have found that topiramate can reduce drinking in those who want to completely abstain from alcohol; therefore, Kranzler and colleagues wanted to determine whether it could also help those who simply wanted to limit their alcohol consumption to safe levels.1

In Kranzler and colleagues’ study of 138 heavy drinkers, the men consumed an average of 23 or more standard drinks per week, and the women consumed an average of 18 or more standard drinks per week.1 During the last four weeks of treatment, 35.8 percent of the group receiving topiramate had no heavy drinking days, compared with 16.9 percent of the placebo group.1

“Overall, our hope is that the study will result in additional research on how best to help patients who have struggled with heavy drinking but who are unable or unwilling to abstain from alcohol altogether,” said Kranzler. “As for treating with topiramate, these findings may allow us to predict, in advance, who may benefit, thereby avoiding the unnecessary use of the medicine.”1

2 Comments

  • Pauline

    March 6, 2014, 1:35 pm

    This is a topic that is near to my heart… Take care!

    Exactly where are your contact details though?

    • Meghan LaCasse

      March 6, 2014, 9:54 pm

      Hi Pauline,

      You can find our contact information here: http://wellingtonretreat.com/contact-us/

      Wellington Retreat is located at 2200 North Florida Mango, Suite 201 West Palm Beach, Florida 33409.
      Our phone number is 561-983-6387.

      Take care!

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