MONDAY, March 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Gabapentin appears to be efficacious for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD), especially among those with high alcohol withdrawal, according to a study published online March 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Raymond F. Anton, M.D., from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial to examine whether gabapentin would be useful in AUD treatment. A total of 145 treatment-seeking individuals with AUC were screened, and 96 who also met recent alcohol withdrawal criteria were randomly assigned to treatment with gabapentin versus placebo after three abstinent days. Ninety of the participants were evaluable: 44 and 46 in the gabapentin and placebo arms, respectively.

The researchers found that compared with placebo, more gabapentin-treated individuals had no heavy-drinking days (27 versus 9 percent; number needed to treat [NNT], 5.4) and more total abstinence (18 versus 4 percent; NNT, 6.2). Compared with placebo, positive gabapentin effects were seen for no heavy-drinking days and total abstinence in the prestudy high alcohol withdrawal group (NNT, 3.1 and 2.7, respectively); no significant differences were seen in the low alcohol withdrawal group. For other drinking variables, these findings were similar, with gabapentin being more efficacious than placebo in the high alcohol withdrawal group only.

“This study showed that gabapentin is efficacious in promoting abstinence and reducing drinking in individuals with alcohol use disorder and especially so in those with more alcohol withdrawal symptoms,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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