Thursday, April 07, 2005
Towards an Alcohol Vaccine?
Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist and long has been used to treat heroin addicts. For the last decade or so, naltrexone also has been given orally to some heavy drinkers, as it seems to aid some of them in reducing their drinking. The current issue of the Journal of the Amercian Medical Association includes an article by Garbutt, O'Malley, Gastfriend, et al. that reports on a clinical trial in which alcohol abusers were given a once-monthly injection of naltrexone. It's no magic bullet, but it seemed to aid some heavy drinkers in cutting back. Here are the study's results:
Compared with placebo, 380 mg of long-acting naltrexone resulted in a 25% decrease in the event rate of heavy drinking days (P = .03) and 190 mg of naltrexone resulted in a 17% decrease (P = .07). Sex and pretreatment abstinence each showed significant interaction with the medication group on treatment outcome, with men and those with lead-in abstinence both exhibiting greater treatment effects. Discontinuation due to adverse events occurred in 14.1% in the 380-mg and 6.7% in the 190-mg group and 6.7% in the placebo group. Overall, rate and time to treatment discontinuation were similar among treatment groups.As such types of therapies develop, some parents might want to "vaccinate" their teenagers against alcohol and drugs.
Here's a BBC report on the JAMA study. Vice Squad briefly looked at pharmacotherapy last August.
Sorry for the blogging lapse/confusion. I am having mucho problems with Blogger.