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Alcohol Alcohol. 2011 May-Jun;46(3):308-11. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agq101. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Predictors for the efficacy of naltrexone treatment in alcohol dependence: sweet preference.

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  • 1Department of General Practice, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.



To analyse the possible associations between sweet preference and the efficacy of naltrexone treatment of alcohol dependence.


The preference for different concentrations of sucrose was evaluated in 78 participants diagnosed with alcohol dependence after treatment for 32 weeks with naltrexone or placebo without prior detoxification.


A significant difference between naltrexone and placebo groups was found in the association between the preference for higher sucrose concentrations and relapses to heavy drinking. Higher sweet preference was significantly related to successful treatment measures in the naltrexone group but not in the placebo group.


Sweet preference has a strong correlation to treatment outcomes with naltrexone, and sweet preference might be used as a predictor for better treatment results in alcoholics. Our study offers one possible new explanation of the clinical observation that naltrexone is not effective for every patient.

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