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Acamprosate: potential medication for treating alcoholism

laces and things associated with alcohol) and reduce alcohol consumption, leading to less relapse drinking and more abstinent days. Although it is well tolerated and does not produce many adverse effects, naltrexone does not work for everyone, leading some scientists to think there are genetic differences behind the treatment response.

For this study, adult participants (7 males, 3 females) were recruited through local advertising. All of the participants were classified as heavy drinkers, having reported alcohol consumption a minimum of eight days per month; with five or more drinks per occasion at least three times a month for the men, and four or more drinks per occasion at least three times a month for the women. During the six-week study, subjects received three different doses of oral acamprosate (0, 2 and 4 g.) for 11 days on each dose. Physiological, subjective and psychomotor measures were collected daily during each dosing cycle. During each of the acamprosate dose conditions, subjects also received three different doses of alcohol (0, 0.5 and 1.0 g/kg) during three separate laboratory sessions. Researchers collected the subjective, physiological and psychomotor effects of the alcohol as well as breath-alcohol levels at baseline and at 30-minute intervals for three hours following administration.

Results indicate that acamprosate does not appear to alter alcohol's pharmacokinetics (the way it moves through the body), acute physiological or psychomotor alcohol effects, or most subjective alcohol effects.

"While the results of this study are rather clear and straightforward, namely, that acamprosate has minimal effects on the alcohol experience, the findings should be interpreted cautiously because only a few subjects were studied and those subjects were not alcoholics," said Anton. "Since people vary in medication response, generalizing from a study of only a few people is difficult. Also, we know tha
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14-Jul-2004


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