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Psychopharmacol Bull. 1998;34(1):111-5.

Naltrexone utility in depressed alcoholics.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA 15213, USA.


The aim of this open-label pilot study was to evaluate the utility of naltrexone (50 mg per day) in decreasing alcohol use and to examine its impact on depressive symptoms among depressed alcoholics who have failed to abstain from alcohol use despite treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Fourteen ambulatory care patients, aged 18 to 65 years, with DSM-III-R comorbid diagnoses of alcohol dependence and major depressive disorder, who failed to abstain despite treatment with an antidepressant medication were enrolled in the study. Patients were followed for 12 weeks with weekly assessment of drinking behavior, depressive symptoms, functioning, alcohol craving, and side effects. The results of this study indicated a significant decrease in alcohol use and in urges to drink alcohol in the presence of the usual triggers. There was also a trend suggesting improvement in depressive symptoms and overall functioning. Naltrexone was well tolerated, with mild side effects reported at the onset of treatment.

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