Baclofen helps alcoholics' abstinence

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 24, 2007

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The anti-spasm drug baclofen promotes alcohol abstinence in alcohol-dependent patients with cirrhosis of the liver and could play a larger role than it currently does in treating these individuals, according to a study in the Dec. 8 Lancet.

Alcohol is the most frequent cause of liver cirrhosis in developed nations, noted researchers from the Catholic University of Rome. They conducted a trial of 84 alcohol-dependent patients with cirrhosis of the liver and found that of 42 patients given baclofen, 71% achieved and maintained abstinence compared to 29% of the 42 who got a placebo.

They also determined baclofen had low liver metabolism, and no hepatic side-effects were reported.

In an accompanying comment in the same issue, it was noted that the use of these medications has lagged and that the findings should be put to use in the primary care setting.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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