Harmful alcohol use is a risk factor in more than 60 diseases and injuries resulting in approximately 2.5 million deaths per year worldwide. In the United States (US) and Europe, there are only a few medications approved for alcohol dependence (AD) however, these medications have only been moderately effective and there is a crucial need for more effective treatments. This review briefly summarizes research on currently approved medications for AD, as well as promising medications like topiramate, baclofen and ondansetron. Topiramate is likely the most promising new treatment for AD, however, further research is needed to determine the optimal dose and appropriate length of treatment. Baclofen, a GABAB agonist, is a promising medication as a treatment for AD, especially for patients with AD and severe liver disease. Ondansetron has shown promising results as a potential medication for AD, but only within a certain subtype of individuals. This review also discusses more recent findings on other potential pharmacotherapies for AD, such as serotoninspecific reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; i.e. sertraline), aripiprazole and prazosin, as well as on some examples of other potentially interesting new neuropharmacological targets (i.e. cannabinoid receptors, CRF, NPY, ghrelin). Finally, the present review also discusses the attempts to personalize medication for AD treatment by alcohol typology and pharmacogenetics.
Keywords: Alcohol Dependence, Alcohol Pharmacotherapy, Alcohol Typology, Pharmacogenetics, topiramate, ondansetron, baclofen, sertraline, prazosin, cannabinoid, ghrelin, typology, neuropharmacological, aripiprazole, disulfiram, serotonin, acmprosate, odansetron
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