Navigation Links
Epilepsy drug may help alcoholics recover from dependence, small study suggests
Date:8/3/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich. It's a Catch-22 of the highest order. People with alcohol problems often use alcohol to get to sleep -- but it actually keeps them from getting good-quality sleep all night long.

At the same time, they're highly likely to suffer from full-blown chronic insomnia that keeps them from getting enough sleep night after night and that condition has been shown to cut their chances of getting sober again.

Meanwhile, their doctors aren't likely to prescribe them insomnia medications, because most sleeping pills can be habit-forming or have adverse effects due to an alcohol-damaged liver.

Now, a small new pilot study from a team of University of Michigan alcoholism and sleep researchers offers some sign of a possible way out of this conundrum.

The study, published in the August issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, suggests that the drug gabapentin might be able to reduce insomnia in recovering alcoholics, and help them stay away from alcohol more successfully. The drug, often used to treat epilepsy and chronic pain, is not habit-forming and is not processed by the liver.

Although the study involved only 21 insomniacs in recovery from alcohol dependence, and did not provide long-term gabapentin treatment or long-term follow-up on their sleep or their alcohol recovery, it was randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blinded. In all, 30 percent of the patients who received gabapentin during alcohol recovery relapsed to drinking, compared with 80 percent of those who received a placebo.

Based on the results, the researchers have already launched additional studies of the potential role of gabapentin in alcohol recovery and sleep.

"We showed that the patients who got the real drug, rather than placebo, were less likely to relapse to drinking -- or if they relapsed it was later," says lead author Kirk Brower, M.D., FASAM, the executive director of U-M Addiction Treatment Services and a professor of psychiatry at the U-M Medical School. "In other words, gabapentin prevented and delayed relapse. Meanwhile, patients reported sleeping better in both the treatment and placebo groups, which may be due to the gabapentin in the first group and the resumption of drinking in the other."

Co-author Flavia Consens, M.D., an associate professor of neurology and member of the U-M Sleep Disorders Center, is cautiously optimistic that the new findings could open the door to better understanding of how to handle sleep problems in people who are trying to recover from their dependence on alcohol. As many as 70 percent of people with alcohol problems suffer insomnia, she says, while others cope with other sleep disturbances including breathing problems known as sleep apnea.

Nearly 14 million Americans meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or alcoholism. Alcohol problems, alone or in combination with illicit drug problems, account for 40 percent of admissions to addiction treatment programs each year, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

"There may be some underlying chemical changes in the brain that prompt alcoholics to report more insomnia as a co-existing condition than non-alcoholics," she says. "A possible explanation of these new findings is that the gabapentin might decrease the insomnia initially, and the patient may not need or crave alcohol as a treatment for the insomnia. We're also looking into other factors that may have an effect on the neurochemistry of the brain, and see how they could impact recovery and sleep."

The researchers caution that they did not observe differences in brain wave data collected during sleep studies conducted before and after patients received gabapentin. Neither did the drug appear to have a greater benefit for insomnia than placebo during the first 6 weeks of receiving study medication. Six weeks after stopping medication, however, those who had taken gabapentin reported worse insomina than those on placebo. Insomnia was measured using standardized questionnaires for a total of 12 weeks

All of the volunteers met national criteria for alcohol dependence, and were either in alcohol treatment or expressed a willingness to abstain from alcohol. They also all met criteria for insomnia that had lasted six months or more. They could not have other medical or mental health conditions, or be taking medications, that might affect their sleep, and underwent blood tests to rule out medical illnesses such as thyroid deficiency and liver disease.

Each of the study volunteers spent three nights in the U-M Sleep Disorders Center: two during the preparation for the study, and one three weeks after they began to receive gabapentin or placebo. All the volunteers received up to six brief sessions of behavioral therapy aimed not at sleep or alcohol issues, but rather at adherence to the study medication.

Fourteen of the volunteers successfully completed the entire study, including a follow-up appointment six weeks after they completed the six-week course of gabapentin or placebo, and three overnight sleep studies.

Brower notes that the medication dose and schedule used in the study may have contributed to the relatively weak effect on sleep that was seen from gabapentin. Patients took one dose each evening, rather than the three doses throughout the day that are routinely given for epilepsy or pain.

"These results raise more questions for us to explore, including the potential impact of gabapentin on people who are in recovery from alcohol dependence but do not report insomnia," he says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kara Gavin
kegavin@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Epilepsy Drug May Boost Birth Defect Risk
2. FDA Advisers Dont Back Black Box Warning for Epilepsy Drugs
3. FDA Advisers Dont Back Epilepsy Drug Warnings
4. Epilepsy Drugs Can Cause Suicidal Tendencies, FDA Panel Finds
5. First steps towards a new approach to epilepsy treatment
6. Northwest Run/Walk for Epilepsy - Spokane
7. Northwest Run/Walk for Epilepsy - Seattle
8. Northwest Run/Walk for Epilepsy - Portland
9. Dynamin drug discovery team win prestigious international epilepsy grant
10. Possible link between different forms of epilepsy found by Carnegie Mellon scientists
11. Hunter Tylo of CBS The Bold and The Beautiful Joins Forces With the American Epilepsy Outreach Foundation in Public Awareness Campaign
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... As health professionals work to ... “patient engagement.” The patient is doing more than filling out a survey; in many ... is an increasing emphasis in health care and research on the importance of active ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... The American Board ... become its next President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon ... beginning July 1, 2018 until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end of 2018. Upon ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Las Vegas, Nevada (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... of 7® Hemp CBD Oil utilizing Purzorb™ technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum ... CBD dose required and providing a CBD form that can be easily incorporated into ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Lori R. Somekh, ... member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special needs planning attorneys. ... and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder law attorneys nationwide,” ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care for a ... waiver for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. , “What ... is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said Mechell Vieira, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  Eli Lilly and ... financial results for the third quarter of 2017 on ... conference call on that day with the investment community ... The conference call will begin at 9 ... can access a live webcast of the conference call ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile ... the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. ... regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage in ... to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people to ... more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... , Sept. 27, 2017  Commended for their devotion to ... awards. Ranked as number one in the South Florida Business ... in Inc. 5000 yearly list, the national specialty pharmacy has ... Armando Bardisa will soon be honored by SFBJ as ... Set to receive his award in October, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: