[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Benzodiazepines are the standard pharmacotherapies for ethanol detoxification, but concerns about their abuse potential and negative effects upon the transition to alcohol abstinence drive the search for new treatments. Glutamatergic activation and glutamate receptor up-regulation contribute to ethanol dependence and withdrawal. This study compared 3 antiglutamatergic strategies for ethanol detoxification with placebo and to the benzodiazepine, diazepam: the glutamate release inhibitor, lamotrigine; the N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor antagonist, memantine; and the AMPA/kainite receptor inhibitor, topiramate.
This placebo-controlled randomized single-blinded psychopharmacology trial studied male alcohol-dependent inpatients (n=127) with clinically significant alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Subjects were assigned to 1 of 5 treatments for 7 days: placebo, diazepam 10 mg TID, lamotrigine 25 mg QID, memantine 10 mg TID, or topiramate 25 mg QID. Additional diazepam was administered when the assigned medication failed to suppress withdrawal symptoms adequately.
All active medications significantly reduced observer-rated and self-rated withdrawal severity, dysphoric mood, and supplementary diazepam administration compared with placebo. The active medications did not differ from diazepam.
This study provides the first systematic clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of a number of antiglutamatergic approaches for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These data support the hypothesis that glutamatergic activation contributes to human alcohol withdrawal. Definitive studies of each of these medications are now needed to further evaluate their effectiveness in treating alcohol withdrawal.
Full-text Article · May 2007 · Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Ethanol blocks N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) glutamate receptors. Increased NMDA receptor function may contribute to motivational disturbances that contribute to alcoholism. The authors assessed whether the NMDA receptor antagonist memantine reduces cue-induced alcohol craving and produces ethanol-like subjective effects.
Thirty-eight alcohol-dependent inpatients participated in three daylong testing sessions in a randomized order under double-blind conditions. On each test day, subjects received 20 mg of memantine, 40 mg of memantine, or placebo, and subjective responses to treatment were assessed. The level of alcohol craving was assessed before and after exposure to an alcohol cue.
Memantine did not stimulate alcohol craving before exposure to an alcohol cue, and it attenuated alcohol cue-induced craving in a dose-related fashion. It produced dose-related ethanol-like effects without adverse cognitive or behavioral effects.
These data support further exploration of whether well-tolerated NMDA receptor antagonists might have a role in the treatment of alcoholism.
Full-text Article · Apr 2007 · American Journal of Psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Seventy detoxified heroin-addicted patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups receiving ketamine psychotherapy (KPT) involving two different doses of ketamine. The patients of the experimental group received existentially oriented psychotherapy in combination with a hallucinogenic ("psychedelic") dose of ketamine (2.0 mg/kg im). The patients of the control group received the same psychotherapy combined with a low, non-hallucinogenic (non-psychedelic), dose of ketamine (0.2 mg/kg im). Both the psychotherapist and patient were blind to the dose of ketamine. The therapy included preparation for the ketamine session, the ketamine session itself, and the post session psychotherapy aimed to help patients to integrate insights from their ketamine session into everyday life. The results of this double blind randomized clinical trial of KPT for heroin addiction showed that high dose (2.0 mg/kg) KPT elicits a full psychedelic experience in heroin addicts as assessed quantitatively by the Hallucinogen Rating Scale. On the other hand, low dose KPT (0.2 mg/kg) elicits "sub-psychedelic" experiences and functions as ketamine-facilitated guided imagery. High dose KPT produced a significantly greater rate of abstinence in heroin addicts within the first two years of follow-up, a greater and longer-lasting reduction in craving for heroin, as well as greater positive change in nonverbal unconscious emotional attitudes than did low dose KPT.
Full-text Article · Jan 2003 · Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment