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J Psychopharmacol. 2004 Mar;18(1):88-93.

Mirtazapine improves alcohol detoxification.

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Athens University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece.


The objective of the present study was to determine whether a combined psychotherapeutic-psychopharmacological (with mirtazapine) treatment of collateral anxiety and depressive symptomatology during the post-withdrawal phase of alcoholism facilitates the process of alcohol detoxification, which is a decisive stage in the treatment of alcohol-dependent individuals. For that purpose, the rate of remission of anxiety and depressive symptoms over a 4-week detoxification period was evaluated between two groups: the first group followed a standard detoxification protocol (n = 33) and the second group was assigned to mirtazapine in addition to standard treatment (n= 35). A marked reduction of anxiety and depressive symptoms was demonstrated in both groups. However, patients on mirtazapine improved more and at a faster rate compared to controls. Thus, mirtazapine, used adjunctively to short-term psychotherapy, may help the detoxification process by minimizing physical and subjective discomfort. Consequently, it may improve patient compliance in alcohol detoxification programs and facilitate the initial phase treatment of alcohol abuse dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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