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Am J Addict. 2011 Jul-Aug;20(4):330-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1521-0391.2011.00138.x. Epub 2011 May 31.

Examining naltrexone and alcohol effects in a minority population: results from an initial human laboratory study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 19104, USA. plebani_j@mail.trc.upenn.edu


Prior clinical findings have indicated a potential lack of naltrexone efficacy among African Americans with alcohol dependence. However, no definitive conclusions have been drawn due to the relatively small numbers of African Americans in most alcohol treatment trials. The purpose of this study was to examine alcohol and naltrexone effects on healthy African-American individuals in a laboratory environment. Nonalcohol-dependent social drinking adults of African descent (n = 43) were recruited for participation. After consenting and completing the baseline assessment, they participated in four separate alcohol challenge sessions each separated by at least 10 days. During each of the sessions, subjects were administered alcohol or sham drinks, after pretreatment with either naltrexone (50 mg/day) or placebo in a double-blind fashion. The order of the four sessions was randomly assigned. During each session, breath alcohol levels and subjective responses were measured. Results indicate an alcohol effect among these subjects for subjective responses, but no naltrexone effect. Similar to the apparent lack of clinical efficacy findings, naltrexone does not appear to impact alcohol effects in African-American social drinkers. Future studies should investigate African-American populations with heavy drinking as well as alcohol-dependent subjects in order to strengthen the parallels to clinical findings.

© American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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