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Ind Psychiatry J. 2018 Jul-Dec;27(2):163-171. doi: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_79_17.

Pharmacotherapy for relapse prevention of alcohol use disorder in the Indian setting: A systematic review.

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Department of Psychiatry, De-addiction Clinic, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India.


Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is an important public health concern as estimates of the prevalence of AUD range at 4%-6% in the Indian population. Currently, there is limited literature on the pharmacotherapeutic interventions for AUD in the Indian setting. It is imperative to identify the possible variations in their effects from Western studies, and hence the current review was attempted to perform a comprehensive evaluation and critical appraisal of the methodology of the evidence on pharmacological strategies of relapse prevention of AUD in the Indian setting. A total of 18 studies were included in the review. Disulfiram was the most common pharmacological agent to be studied. The initial literature before 2000 focused primarily on disulfiram, whereas the studies in the next decade compared it to acamprosate and naltrexone and emerging interest in anticraving agents such as baclofen and topiramate had been noted over the past few years. No studies were available on newer agents such as ondansetron, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or formulations such as depot and implants. Deterrent agents were found to be better when compared to anticraving agents in terms of abstinence and relapse, whereas the latter were more effective for control of craving. Among the pharmacological agents studied, the greatest evidence exists for disulfiram for relapse prevention which could be due to affordability of disulfiram and social support in the Indian context. The chief methodological limitations include the lack of randomized trials and objective measures for assessing abstinence.


Alcohol use disorder; India; pharmacotherapy; relapse prevention

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There are no conflicts of interest.

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