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J Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;24(9):1375-80. doi: 10.1177/0269881109103799. Epub 2009 Apr 3.

An open pilot study of tiagabine in alcohol dependence: tolerability and clinical effects.

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Athens University Medical School, 1st Department of Psychiatry, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece.


There is evidence that GABAergic anticonvulsants can be efficacious in the treatment of alcohol dependence and in the prevention of alcohol relapse because these agents act on the substrate that is involved in alcoholism. Tiagabine, a selective GABA transporter1 reuptake inhibitor, may be a promising candidate for the treatment of alcohol-dependent individuals. In this randomized, open pilot study, we aimed to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of tiagabine as adjunctive treatment of alcohol-dependent individuals (N = 60) during the immediate post-detoxification period and during a 6-month follow-up period following alcohol withdrawal. A control non-medicated group of alcohol-dependent individuals (N = 60) was used for comparisons in terms of anxiety and depressive symptoms, craving and drinking outcome. Although a steady improvement in terms of psychopathology, craving and global functioning was observed in both groups throughout the study, subjects on tiagabine improved significantly more compared to the control subjects (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the relapse rate in the tiagabine group was lower than in the control group (7 vs 14.3%). Tiagabine was well tolerated and only a minority of the participants reported some adverse effects in the beginning of tiagabine treatment. Results from this study suggest that tiagabine is a safe and effective medication for the management of alcohol dependence when given adjunctively to a standard psychotherapy treatment. Further studies are warranted before definite conclusions can be reached.

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