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MMW Fortschr Med. 2003 Oct 9;145 Suppl 3:65-9.

[Advances in the treatment of alcohol dependence: pharmacological relapse prevention].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Abhängiges Verhal- ten und Suchtmedizin, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit, Mannheim.


The development and successful clinical examination of relapse preventing medications (so-called anti-craving substances) opens up completely new perspectives in the treatment of alcohol-dependent patients. This is especially important for the general practitioners since despite of improved psychosocial treatment of alcohol-dependent patients relapse rates after detoxification remain high. Since a few years, new medications reducing the relapse risk are available. In Germany acamprosate presently is the most important medication used for this indication. Compared with placebo treatment, approximatly twice as many patients remain abstinent under acamprosate one year after detoxification. The administration of the medication starts immediately after detoxification and supports the patient during the first months, when the relapse risk is especially high. The medical treatment, however, is not a replacement for a psychosocial treatment of the alcohol dependence, but should be accompanied by counselling and the attendance in self help groups.

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