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.

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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.
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.
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.

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