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

x 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.


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

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