Saturday, January 17, 2009

Addiction Research Highlights

Clinical studies in 2008.

Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Health: Current Evidence—a free online newsletter from the Boston Medical Center—offers summaries of relevant clinical research on drugs of abuse and related drug issues.

In the November-December 2008 issue, the editors present “a comprehensive guide to all the clinically relevant research articles published by the newsletter in 2008.”

Herewith, a brief sampling:

Topiramate Reduces Drinking in Adults With Alcohol Dependence

“Topiramate may decrease alcohol consumption among people with alcohol dependence by reducing the release of dopamine.”

Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Is Poor Despite Proven Therapies

“Evidence-based practice guidelines are clear that patients at risk for alcohol withdrawal should be monitored and treated with benzodiazepines if the risk is high enough or symptoms are substantial.”

Oral Naltrexone Decreases Use and Extends Time to Relapse in Amphetamine Dependent Patients

“Currently, no medications are FDA-approved to treat amphetamine dependence. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, has shown efficacy in reducing relapse among subjects with opioid or alcohol dependence.”

Alcohol Counseling Can Reduce Blood Pressure

“Unhealthy alcohol use is associated with hypertension. Two recent articles examined whether reductions in drinking can decrease blood pressure among hypertensive heavy drinkers.”

Levetiracetam (Keppra) Shows Promise in Treating Alcohol Dependence

“Anticonvulsants have shown promise as pharmacologic agents in the treatment of alcohol dependence, although none are yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this indication.”

Are Myocardial Infarction Survivors Who Smoke Marijuana at Higher Risk of Death?

“Although a previous study demonstrated an increased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) within 1hour of smoking marijuana compared with periods of nonuse, the net impact of marijuana use on mortality has not been established.”

American Heart Association Releases Guidelines on Treatment of Cocaine-Associated Chest Pain

“There are approximately 500,000 cocaine-associated emergency department visits annually, and it is estimated that 40% involve chest pain.”

Opioid Maintenance Therapy Saves Lives

“Opioid-dependent patients are 13 times more likely to die than their age- and sex-matched peers in the general population.”

Bupropion Added to Nicotine Replacement for Patients in Alcohol Treatment

“The effectiveness of bupropion, an antidepressant approved for smoking cessation in the general population, has not been studied in people being treated for alcoholism.”

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