High-Dose Baclofen Supports Abstinence in Alcoholism

Medscape – Pam Harrison – June 30, 2015

ATHENS, Greece — High doses of baclofen (multiple brands), a drug normally used to treat spasticity, supports alcohol-dependent patients in maintaining abstinence from alcohol and is reasonably well tolerated, new research indicates.

Findings from the Baclofen for the Treatment of Alcohol Dependence (BACLAD) study showed that significantly more patients randomly assigned to receive baclofen remained abstinent during the 12 -week high-dose phase of the study than patients receiving placebo (68.2% vs 23.8%; P = .014).

The duration of cumulative abstinence during the same high-dose phase was also significantly higher in the baclofen group than in the control group receiving placebo (mean, 67.8 days vs 51.8 days; P = .047).

The number of dropouts during the high-dose interval did not differ between the baclofen and the placebo groups, although it was numerically lower in the baclofen group than in the placebo group (13.6% vs 23.8%).

Two patients in the baclofen group discontinued treatment because of side effects (fatigue), but the drug was well tolerated overall.

« When you go to Alcoholics Anonymous, people say to themselves, ‘Today, I won’t drink,’ so alcohol is still in their mind, they just have to tell themselves that they are not going to drink today, » Dr Jaury told Medscape Medical News.

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