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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1991 Jul;50(1):96-106.

Enalapril effects on alcohol intake and other consummatory behaviors in alcoholics.

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Clinical Phamacology Program, Addiction Research Foundation Clinical Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Animal studies suggest that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors decrease alcohol intake. In a double-blind crossover study 42 normotensive alcoholics (36 men and six women) aged 24 to 65 years, consuming 8.2 +/- 2.3 (mean +/- SD) standard alcoholic drinks per day, were randomized to enalapril, 10 mg/day (n = 20) or 20 mg/day (n = 22), and placebo for 4 weeks. They monitored their daily alcohol intake and attended biweekly assessments, but no other treatment or advice was given. Compliance and alcohol intake were verified objectively. Mean daily alcoholic drinks were not significantly different during 10 mg/day enalapril (mean +/- SEM, 7.5 +/- 0.5), and its placebo (7.2 +/- 0.5), but both decreased from baseline (8.1 +/- 0.5; both p less than 0.05). Similarly, mean daily drinks during 20 mg/day enalapril (6.8 +/- 0.6) and its placebo (7.2 +/- 0.4) was not significantly different, but both were lower than baseline (8.3 +/- 0.5; both p less than 0.01). Fourteen (64%) of the patients taking 20 mg/day enalapril decreased alcohol intake from placebo by an average of 21% (range, 1.6% to 78.3%). Self-ratings of interest, desire, craving, and liking for alcohol also decreased from baseline during enalapril and placebo treatments, but the effects of both were similar. Plasma renin activity increased, compared with placebo, after 10 mg/day enalapril (from 0.3 +/- 0.2 [mean +/- SD] to 1.9 +/- 1.5 ng/L/sec) and after 20 mg/day enalapril (from 0.4 +/- 0.3 to 2.8 +/- 4.0 ng/L/sec) (both p less than 0.05). Blood pressure decreased within a normotensive range, compared with placebo, with 10 mg/day enalapril (by 6.0 and 8.5 mm Hg systolic and diastolic blood pressures) and 20 mg/day enalapril (by 7.7 and 5.0 mm Hg, respectively). Side effects were few and mild. No patient characteristic or drug effect correlated with changes in alcohol intake. There were no significant variations in nonalcoholic beverages, cigarette smoking, or body weight. These results indicate that enalapril does not alter alcohol intake in normotensive alcoholics with normal plasma renin activity. Studies with higher doses of enalapril in humans may be limited by increased frequency and severity of side effects.

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