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J Abnorm Psychol. 2000 Nov;109(4):738-42.

Naltrexone's effects on reactivity to alcohol cues among alcoholic men.

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  • 1Research Service, Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Providence, Rhode Island.


The mechanisms of naltrexone's effects on urges to drink during abstinence are unclear. Naltrexone may suppress either urges to drink specifically or appetitive responses in general. The effects of naltrexone on cue reactivity to alcoholic and sweet nonalcoholic beverages were investigated. Alcohol-dependent men (N = 53) in treatment received naltrexone (50 mg) or placebo. Four hours later, they received baseline assessment, exposure to fruit juice, and exposure to their usual alcoholic beverage in 3-min trials. Naltrexone reduced urge to drink and self-reported attention to the alcohol cues, not at the initial exposure but after repeated exposures to alcohol cues. Naltrexone reduced negative affect across baseline and alcohol trials. No effects of naltrexone on responses to the nonalcoholic appetitive beverage cues were found, suggesting that general appetite suppression does not mediate the effects of naltrexone on urges.

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