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Gene variant predicts medication response in patients with alcohol dependence
Date:2/7/2008

f three indicated medications* shown to help patients reduce drinking, avoid relapse to heavy drinking, achieve and maintain abstinence, or gain a combination of these effects. The COMBINE trial showed either specialized counseling or naltrexone--each delivered with medications management--to be effective options for treating alcohol dependence. "Given that alternative treatments such as combined behavioral interventions, acamprosate, and topiramate can be offered, one could make the case that naltrexone should be used first or used primarily in carriers of the OPRM1 [variant]," state the authors. (Guidance regarding the use of approved medications and other tools to help patients with drinking problems is provided in Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinicians Guide (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/Publications/EducationTrainingMaterials/guide.htm).

"Research studies designed to ensure appropriate medication targeting are critical, especially as treatment for alcohol use disorders increasingly involves primary care physicians as well as specialists," notes Mark L. Willenbring, M.D., director of NIAAAs Division of Treatment and Recovery Research. "Without the ability to predict response for a specific patient, we must use trial-and-error to determine the correct medicationa process that may prolong illness and lead to more side effects. This study highlights the promise of truly personalized medicine and could help to move treatment of alcohol dependence into the medical mainstream."


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Contact: Ann Bradley
abradley@mail.nih.gov
301-443-0595
NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Source:Eurekalert

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