Several studies studies support the use of the anticonvulsant Topiramate (Topamax) for alcohol dependence.
A new study supports the use of Gabapentin (Neurontin) in the early post-withdrawal period:
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Dec 17 - The anticonvulsant gabapentin reduces alcohol consumption and craving during treatment for alcohol dependence, Brazilian researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry for November.
Dr. Fernando A. Furieri, at the Vitoria Municipal Addiction Treatment Center, and Dr. Ester M. Nakamura-Palacios, at the Federal University of Espirito Santo in Vitoria, conducted a randomized, double-blind trial involving 60 subjects, whose average consumption exceeded 35 drinks per week.
After a 7-day treatment for acute withdrawal, subjects were randomly assigned to gabapentin up to 600 mg/day, or placebo for 28 days. Thirty-nine patients had used diazepam during the acute phase; 15 in the placebo group and 13 in the gabapentin continued to do so during the trial phase.
The number of drinks per day, per week, and over the 4-week course of treatment had declined significantly more in the gabapentin group than in the placebo group. Gabapentin was also associated with fewer heavy drinking days and more days of abstinence. The authors note that 20 subjects in the gabapentin group and 13 in the placebo group maintained complete abstinence.
According to scores on the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale, craving for alcohol was also reduced significantly more by gabapentin.
"Gabapentin has shown great potential in the treatment of alcohol dependence and withdrawal syndromes," either as monotherapy or as an add-on pharmacotherapy, the authors conclude.
J Clin Psychiatry 2007;68:1691-1700.
Non-anticonvulsants useful for the treatment of alcohol dependence include antabuse, naltrexone, and acamprosate.