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Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Jul 1;60(1):74-6. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis activity: a target of pharmacological anticraving treatment?

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1
Department of Addictive Behavior and Addiction Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg, Mannheim, Germany. falk.kiefer@zi-mannheim.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

An association between the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis and alcohol intake behavior is currently discussed. We examined the relationship between efficacy of pharmacological anticraving treatment and HPA axis activity in the relapse prevention treatment of alcoholism.

METHODS:

In 160 patients suffering from alcoholism, we measured plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol during placebo-controlled relapse prevention treatment with naltrexone and/or acamprosate.

RESULTS:

In the placebo group, ACTH and cortisol decreased during early abstinence. Treatment with naltrexone and acamprosate prevented this course. Increased ACTH and cortisol during treatment was associated with a reduced risk of relapse.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that heightened HPA responsiveness might contribute to relapse-preventing effects of anticraving compounds in alcoholism.

PMID:
16483549
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2005.11.023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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