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Subst Abus. 2012;33(4):336-49.

Is baclofen a revolutionary medication in alcohol addiction management? Review and recent updates.

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INSERM, U669, Paris, France.


Baclofen, a γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-B receptor agonist, represents a promising drug in alcohol addiction management. Animal models have shown its action at various stages of the process of alcohol addiction. Moreover, initial open and randomized controlled trials have shown the efficacy of 30 mg/day baclofen on alcohol craving, intake, and relapse prevention. It may also decrease alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, these initial studies were conducted by the same Italian team; 2 American studies, using a different methodology, did not confirm these effects. Following recent reports by an alcohol-dependent French physician who treated himself with high doses (120-270 mg/day), claiming prolonged suppression of alcohol craving and absence of dependence symptoms, baclofen has since received wide media exposure in France where it has been called "the treatment for alcoholism." An open-label French study supports these findings. In addition, baclofen seems to be particularly interesting because of its safety and tolerance, even in patients with cirrhosis. Thus, baclofen should benefit from further studies of its biobehavioral mechanisms, dose-response effect, and indications in various alcoholic patient profiles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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