Opioid antagonists for alcohol dependence

Department of Psychiatry, Chiang Mai University, Amphoe Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2005; 1(1):CD001867. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD1867.pub2
Source: PubMed


Opioid antagonists can decrease alcohol consumption in animals. The review findings support that short-term treatment of naltrexone (NTX) decreases the chance of alcohol relapses for 36% and likely to reduce the chance of returning to drinking for 13%. NTX treatment can lower the risk of treatment withdrawal in alcohol-dependent patients for 28% (NNT = 13). The evidence so far have supported that NTX should be accepted as a short-term treatment for alcoholism. Strategies to improve adherence to NTX treatment, e.g., psychosocial interventions and management of adverse effects, should be concomitantly given. We have not yet known so far how long alcohol-dependent patients who respond to NTX treatment should continue their treatment. Nalmefene has too little evidence to support its clinical use.

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