Association of µ-opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene polymorphism with response to naltrexone in alcohol dependence: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Addict Biol. 2012 May;17(3):505-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2012.00442.x.


Previous studies have suggested that the effect of naltrexone in patients with alcohol dependence may be moderated by genetic factors. In particular, the possession of the G allele of the A118G polymorphism of the µ-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1) has been associated with a better response to naltrexone, although controversial results have been reported. The aim of this paper is to combine previous findings by means of a systematic review and a meta-analysis. We retrieved studies on the relationship between A118G polymorphism in OPRM1 gene and response to treatment with naltrexone in patients with alcohol dependence by means of electronic database search. A meta-analysis was conducted using a random-effects model. Calculations of odds ratio (OR) and their confidence intervals (CI) and tests for heterogeneity of the results have been performed. Six previous studies have analyzed the role of A118G polymorphism in response to naltrexone for alcohol dependence. After meta-analysis, we found that naltrexone-treated patients carrying the G allele had lower relapse rates than those who were homozygous for the A allele (OR: 2.02, 95% CI 1.26-3.22; P = 0.003). There were no differences in abstinence rates. Our results support the fact that the G allele of A118G polymorphism of OPRM1 moderates the effect of naltrexone in patients with alcohol dependence. This genetic marker may therefore identify a subgroup of individuals more likely to respond to this treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / genetics*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Genotype
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / genetics*
  • Recurrence
  • Temperance


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • OPRM1 protein, human
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • Naltrexone