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Levetiracetam in the treatment of alcohol dependence: toward the end of the story?

Author(s): Le Strat Y.

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry, Louis Mourier Hospital, AP-HP, Colombes, France. yann.lestrat@inserm.fr

Publication date & source: 2012, Alcohol Clin Exp Res. , 36(8):1309-10

BACKGROUND: Levetiracetam exhibited 2 promising results in preclinical studies as well as in treating alcohol withdrawal in humans. Two open-label trials suggested that levetiracetam may be efficient in alcohol-related disorder. METHODS: The study by Fertig and colleagues (2012) examines the effects of levetiracetam using a double-blind, placebo-controlled design including 130 participants. Fertig and colleagues' study included alcohol-dependent participants drinking heavily. Double-blind medication was dispensed for 16 weeks, with a target dose of 2,000 mg per day from week 5 to week 14, and then tapered. RESULTS: The results are negative both on the primary and on the secondary outcomes, except from lower alcohol-related consequences in the levetiracetam extended-release (XR) group, and a trend for a lower quality of life in the levetiracetam XR group. These last 2 results would have been nonsignificant after controlling for multiple testing. CONCLUSIONS: By conducting a state-of-the-art randomized-controlled clinical trial with negative results, Fertig and colleagues have filled an important gap in the existing literature.

Page last updated: 2013-02-10

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