In this investigation, the hypothesis was tested whether the selective dopamine D2/D3 receptor antagonist tiapride is effective in maintaining abstinence after detoxification in alcohol-dependent patients. The rationale of the study was based on the relevance of the dopaminergic system for addictive behaviour as well as some preliminary studies. A multi-centre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study was conducted. A total of 299 detoxified alcohol-dependent patients (ICD-10: F10.2) received either tiapride (300 mg/d) or placebo over a 24-wk study period. Subjects with severe comorbid psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia or Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome were excluded. Primary outcome variable was the time to first relapse with relapse defined as any alcohol consumption after detoxification. Data analysis was done with Kaplan-Meier estimates with log-rank test (one-sided, p<0.05). Tiapride was not superior to placebo in maintaining abstinence. The time to first relapse was 71 d in the tiapride group and 92 d in the placebo group (log-rank test, p=0.9895). Relapse rate was higher in the intervention group (54.4%) than in the control group (40.7%). Like the dopamine antagonist flupenthixol, tiapride was not effective in maintaining alcohol abstinence. Regarding the high success rate in the placebo group the influence of psychosocial treatment in studies investigating drug effects on the course of alcohol dependence has to be considered.