Guidelines for biological treatment of substance use and related disorders, part 1: Alcoholism, first revision

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Mar;18(2):86-119. doi: 10.1080/15622975.2016.1246752. Epub 2016 Dec 23.


These practice guidelines for the biological treatment of alcohol use disorders are an update of the first edition, published in 2008, which was developed by an international Task Force of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP). For this 2016 revision, we performed a systematic review (MEDLINE/PUBMED database, Cochrane Library) of all available publications pertaining to the biological treatment of alcoholism and extracted data from national guidelines. The Task Force evaluated the identified literature with respect to the strength of evidence for the efficacy of each medication and subsequently categorised it into six levels of evidence (A-F) and five levels of recommendation (1-5). Thus, the current guidelines provide a clinically and scientifically relevant, evidence-based update of our earlier recommendations. These guidelines are intended for use by clinicians and practitioners who evaluate and treat people with alcohol use disorders and are primarily concerned with the biological treatment of adults with such disorders.

Keywords: Alcoholism; acamprosate; baclofen; benzodiazepine; carbamazepine; disulfiram; nalmefene; naltrexone; ondansetron; pharmacotherapy; topiramate.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / classification
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Antipsychotic Agents