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Topiramate Shows Promise for Alcoholism

Drug is safe and consistently effective

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Topiramate is a safe and effective means to treat alcohol dependence, according to a report published in the Oct. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Bankole A. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues conducted a 14-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 371 men and women aged 18 to 65 years who were diagnosed with alcohol dependence, of whom 183 were randomized to receive up to 300 mg a day of topiramate, and 188 to receive placebo.

In the topiramate group, there was a 8.44 percent difference in the reduction of heavy drinking days compared with the placebo group. However, the topiramate group experienced more adverse outcomes, such as paresthesia, taste perversion, anorexia and problems concentrating.

"Because topiramate pharmacotherapy can be paired with a brief intervention deliverable by non-specialist health practitioners, a next step would be to examine its efficacy in community practice settings," the authors write.

The medication and funding of the clinical trial were provided by Ortho-McNeil Janssen. All authors served on the advisory board for topiramate.

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