[Pharmacological treatment options for prevention of alcohol relapse]

Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2008 Jul;76(7):421-8. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1038220.
[Article in German]


Many studies address the neurobiological mechanisms of alcohol craving. The study results obtained so far show that there may be at least three subtypes of craving, which may be linked to changes in different neurotransmitter systems. Actually in Germany acamprosate and disulfiram are approved for clinical use for the prevention of alcohol relapse. Also off-label therapy with naltrexone is possible. However studies show that these substances are not effective in all patients. In the light of hypothetical changes in different neurotransmitter systems, subtype specific therapy may be necessary for successful prevention of alcohol relapse. Therefore new therapy options are needed in order to treat alcohol dependent persons. Substances that seem to have efficacy in preclinical or preliminary clinical studies are baclofen, topiramate, odansetron, rimonabant and memantine.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Deterrents / therapeutic use*
  • Alcoholism / drug therapy*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents / therapeutic use
  • GABA Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Serotonin Agents / therapeutic use


  • Alcohol Deterrents
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents
  • GABA Agents
  • Serotonin Agents