Safety and Efficacy of Baclofen in the Treatment of Alcohol-Dependent Patients
Giovanni Addolorato and Lorenzo Leggio
Affiliation: Institute of Internal Medicine - Catholic University of Rome - l.go A. Gemelli, 8 - I-00168 Rome, Italy.
Keywords: Alcohol dependence, GABA, baclofen, alcohol craving, alcohol abstinence, heavy drinking, alcohol withdrawal, alcoholic cirrhosis
Preclinical studies show that antagonism of the GABAB receptor may represent an effective neuropharmacological approach to treat alcohol dependence. Consistent with preclinical evidence, the majority of the human studies have demonstrated that the prototype GABAB receptor antagonist baclofen may represent an effective mediation to treat alcohol-dependent individuals. Specifically, baclofen has shown to reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as well as to reduce alcohol craving and intake, and to promote alcohol abstinence. Notably, baclofen has shown a safe profile when administered to alcoholics, including those with liver cirrhosis. In summary, baclofen represents a safe and effective medication to treat alcohol dependence, thus holding promise as a new pharmacotherapy. However, large studies are needed to confirm the present findings.
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