Drug against alcoholism works, researchers claim

March 17, 2017
French researchers say they have fresh evidence that a drug called baclofen fights alcoholism

French researchers provided fresh evidence Friday to support claims that a drug touted as a miracle cure for alcoholism, and prescribed for this purpose in France, actually works.

The , baclofen, had "a positive effect" at high doses in reducing alcohol consumption over a year of treatment, according to study results released at a conference in Paris.

Developers reported on a drug trial named Bacloville, conducted among 320 heavy drinkers aged 18 to 65 between May 2012 and June 2013.

The trial compared the safety and efficacy of the drug given to some participants at high doses, to a "dummy" placebo pill given to others.

Neither the trial participants nor their monitors knew who was getting which pill. The patients were not asked to refrain from alcohol.

Fifty-seven percent of those who got the real drug stopped drinking or drank less, compared to 37 percent of those who got the dummy drug.

A second study, dubbed Alpadir, also reported Friday that people who received the medicine made bigger cuts in drinking compared to those given a placebo.

French health authorities gave provisional approval for use of baclofen, originally designed and widely used to treat muscle spasms, in 2014 for the treatment of alcoholism.

Many people in other countries are thought to use the drug without a prescription to fight alcoholism.

Interest was sparked in 2008 by a book, "Le Dernier Verre" (The Last Drink), by French-American cardiologist Olivier Ameisen, who claimed to have self-treated his alcoholism with high doses of baclofen.

A subsequent French trial found high doses of the drug caused a significant percentage of to give up or moderate their intake.

Several trials since then have come up with contradictory findings.

Last year, Dutch researchers in a different study found the drug may work no better than counselling.

Without proof of its efficacy, prescribing high doses of the drug known as baclofen may be irresponsible, they warned at the time.

Ethypharm, the laboratory developing the drug, said Friday it would submit an application by month-end for the commercialisation of for the treatment of alcoholism in France.

According to the UN's World Health Organization (WHO), 3.3 million deaths around the globe every year are the result of harmful use—almost six percent of all deaths.

Explore further: 'Anti-alcoholism' drug cleared for use in France

Related Stories

'Anti-alcoholism' drug clears key test hurdle

March 20, 2012

A drug designed to treat nervous spasms has cleared an important early test in a project to see whether it can also cure alcoholism, French doctors said on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Drug against alcoholism works, researchers claim

March 17, 2017

French researchers provided fresh evidence Friday to support claims that a drug touted as a miracle cure for alcoholism, and prescribed for this purpose in France, actually works.

Should parents give their children alcohol?

March 10, 2017

Children and teens who are given alcohol by their parents are twice as likely to be drinking full serves of alcohol by age 15 or 16, but are much less likely to binge drink, a UNSW study shows.

6 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Eikka
not rated yet Mar 17, 2017
Baclofen s a central nervous system depressant that's used as a muscle relaxant. A true double blind study would be pretty hard to conduct, considering that the effects of the drug are plain and obvious. It's a sedative and reduces anxiety.

Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant. It seems to be a substitute drug rather than a cure, and indeed the withdrawal symptoms from high regular doses of the drug resemble alcohol withdrawal.
BubbaNicholson
not rated yet Mar 18, 2017
Note the high rate of placebo takers overcoming alcoholism. Like baclofen, heroin, cocaine, or oxycodone might also "cure" alcoholism, too. If we could stop ethanol intake long enough to sober people kept on oxycodone, the cure for oxycodone/heroin/cocaine abuse is trivial: 250mg of healthy adult male facial skin surface lipid p.o. (extreme precautions are needed because of the adverse behavioral consequences of "zenite gas" emissions from collected adult male facial skin surface lipids--astonishment/stupidity, arrogance, suspicion, jealousy) cures drug addiction if uncomplicated by alcoholism. It would be worth a try. Indeed, baclofen dependence may also respond to the pheromone and both used serially if safe & effective.
koitsu
not rated yet Mar 18, 2017
When we say alcoholism here, are we talking about heavy drinkers or are we talking about true alcoholics who have absolutely no control over most judgment the moment alcohol is in their systems?

For an alcoholic, it's not a situation where you "drink less" to win. You drink (and lose control) or you don't drink (and forever run the risk of falling back into it if you touch the stuff again). It's not a matter of discipline or toughening up; the circuits in the brain that allow for things like that are nullified by the alcohol, so there's never actually a chance to "fight" or "think twice." The success of any drug to beat alcoholism would be determined by its ability to protect all those circuits under low-level exposure to alcohol.

In addition to having read quite a bit on the topic, I have experience with alcoholism.
NewParadigm
not rated yet Apr 15, 2017
The use of Baclofen is revolutionary because it has demonstrated its UNIQUE capacity as an anti-cravings drug. When the craving stops people are able to exert control and drink normally. It is being prescribed to over 40 000 French patients and there is no pharmaceutical companies behind it as it is old - generic- drug used for 40 years.
I have noted several inacuracies in th articles :
my comments are in capital below the article sentence :
A second study, dubbed Alpadir, also reported Friday that people who received the medicine made bigger cuts in drinking compared to those given a placebo.
THIS STUDY HAD A MAXIMUM DOSAGE OF 180 mg. BACLOVILLE HAD A MAXIMUM DOSAGE OF 300mg. THE ALPADIR STUDY IS NOT HIGH DOSE. ONLY HIGH DOSE SHOW EFFICACY.
Several trials since then have come up with contradictory findings.
NOT TRUE, ALL HIGH DOSE TRIALS (300mg) SHOWS THE SAME EFFICACY : AROUND 60%. THESE ARE BACLOVILLE AND BACLAD (Mueller et al).
I'll continue on post 2
NewParadigm
not rated yet Apr 15, 2017
Last year, Dutch researchers in a different study found the drug may work no better than counselling.
AGAIN THIS STUDY WAS NOT HIGH DOSE AS MAXIMUM DOSAGE WAS 150mg. AND ONLY 15% OF PATIENTS REACHED THIS DOSE; THE MEAN DOSE IN THE HIGH-DOSE STUDY WAS 94mg. THE AUTHORS THEMSLEVES WROTE IN THE ARTICLE : " it is possible that many patients in our study were suboptimally titrated and stopped at a relatively low dose. "
titrated and stopped at a relatively low dose. "
Without proof of its efficacy, prescribing high doses of the drug known as baclofen may be irresponsible, they warned at the time.
SC: IF DOUBLE BLING AGAINST PLACEBO OVER 1 YEAR IS NOT SCIENTIFIC PROOF, WHAT IS? THE STUDY IS PUBLICLY FUNDED BYTHE AP-HP (PARIS HOSPITALS) NOT BY A PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY. NOT COMMERCIAL INTERESTS EXIST IN USING THIS VERY CHEAP GENERIC DRUG.
I'll continue on post 3
NewParadigm
not rated yet Apr 15, 2017
Ethypharm, the laboratory developing the drug, said Friday it would submit an application by month-end for the commercialisation of baclofen for the treatment of alcoholism in France. ETHYPHARM IS NOT DEVLOPPING THE DRUG IT IS A GENERIC FOR 40 YEARS. IT HAS JUST APPLYIED FOR A MARKET AUTHORISATION FOR HIGH DOSAGE PILLS. BACLOFEN IS SOLD AS 10 mg PILLS. SO IF YOUR DAILY DOAGE IS 300mg YOU NEED 30 PILLS A DAY.

Alcohol kills and destroys people and family. There is no space for inaccuracy. This new treatment is a fantastic hope for a terrible addiction. Not investigating it is not an option when no other treatments show half its efficacy. Actually it is wilful neglect .

I know I am passionate, but it is normal I am French.

Please check the facts for yourselves : they are amazing.

NP

PS: and yes I have seen it working at least twice for friends or relatives - c'est incroyable.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.