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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2007 Dec;17(12):781-9. Epub 2007 Jul 3.

Comparing and combining gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and naltrexone in maintaining abstinence from alcohol: an open randomised comparative study.

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G. Fontana Centre for the Study and Multidisciplinary Treatment of Alcohol Addiction, Department of Internal Medicine, Cardioangiology and Hepatology, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy.


Maintaining abstinence from alcohol is the main goal in treating alcohol dependence. Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and naltrexone (NTX), and their combination in maintaining abstinence. Fifty-five alcoholics were randomly enrolled in three groups and treated for 3 months with GHB, GHB plus NTX, and NTX, respectively. At the end of treatments, abstinence was maintained by 13 patients (72.2%) in combination group, 8 patients (40%; P=0.03) in GHB group, and one patient (5.9%; P=0.0001) in NTX group. Relapses in heavy drinking tended to occur more frequently in GHB group (15%) than in either combination group (no cases) or NTX group (5.9%), but such differences were not statistically significant. The GHB/NTX combination was more effective than either drug given alone; this suggests that the two drugs combine their different actions synergistically without suppressing the favourable effects of each other.

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