Pharmacotherapy for alcohol-related disorders: what clinicians should know.
ABSTRACT Alcohol-related disorders are a major public health problem in the United States. Alcohol interacts with several neurotransmitter systems causing both acute and chronic effects in the brain. While the mainstay of treatment of alcohol-related disorders, with the exception of alcohol withdrawal, has historically been psychosocial, pharmacotherapy is increasingly being investigated and incorporated into standard clinical practice. Patients with alcohol use disorders and comorbid psychiatric conditions, most commonly depressive and anxiety disorders, can benefit from symptom-targeted pharmacotherapy, even if the patient fails to achieve abstinence from alcohol. Although benzodiazepines remain the treatment of choice to treat alcohol withdrawal, a variety of other agents is being investigated, particularly in the outpatient setting. Further randomized clinical trials of alcohol-related disorder pharmacotherapy, particularly of comorbid subpopulations, are needed to better inform clinical decision making. The routine exclusion of alcohol-dependent patients from pharmacotherapy trials of psychiatric disorders presents a barrier to gathering more data. Recommendations for future research are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: To update clinicians on the latest in evidence-based treatments for substance use disorders (SUD) and non-substance use disorders among adults and suggest how these treatments can be combined into an evidence-based process that enhances treatment effectiveness in comorbid patients. Articles were extracted from Pubmed using the search terms "dual diagnosis," "comorbidity" and "co-occurring" and were reviewed for evidence of effectiveness for pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatments of comorbidity. Twenty-four research reviews and 43 research trials were reviewed. The preponderance of the evidence suggests that antidepressants prescribed to improve substance-related symptoms among patients with mood and anxiety disorders are either not highly effective or involve risk due to high side-effect profiles or toxicity. Second generation antipsychotics are more effective for treatment of schizophrenia and comorbid substance abuse and current evidence suggests clozapine, olanzapine and risperidone are among the best. Clozapine appears to be the most effective of the antipsychotics for reducing alcohol, cocaine and cannabis abuse among patients with schizophrenia. Motivational interviewing has robust support as a highly effective psychotherapy for establishing a therapeutic alliance. This finding is critical since retention in treatment is essential for maintaining effectiveness. Highly structured therapy programs that integrate intensive outpatient treatments, case management services and behavioral therapies such as Contingency Management (CM) are most effective for treatment of severe comorbid conditions. Creative combinations of psychotherapies, behavioral and pharmacological interventions offer the most effective treatment for comorbidity. Intensity of treatment must be increased for severe comorbid conditions such as the schizophrenia/cannabis dependence comorbidity due to the limitations of pharmacological treatments.Addictive behaviors 01/2012; 37(1):11-24. · 2.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies find that psychiatric disorders, including mental disorders and substance use disorders, are common among adults and highly comorbid. Integrated treatment refers to the focus of treatment on two or more conditions and to the use of multiple treatments such as the combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Integrated treatment for comorbidity has been found to be consistently superior compared to treatment of individual disorders with separate treatment plans. This article focuses on a review of the risks for developing comorbid disorders and the combinations of treatments that appear to be most effective for clients with particular comorbid disorders.Social Work in Public Health 05/2013; 28(3-4):388-406. · 0.31 Impact Factor