Prospective randomized pharmacogenetic study of topiramate for treating alcohol use disorder

Neuropsychopharmacology. 2021 Jul;46(8):1407-1413. doi: 10.1038/s41386-020-00945-9. Epub 2021 Feb 10.


In a prior study, topiramate reduced heavy drinking among individuals who sought to reduce their drinking, with the effect moderated by a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP; rs2832407) in GRIK1, which encodes the kainate GluK1 receptor subunit (Kranzler et al. 2014). The present study sought to replicate prospectively the effect of topiramate and rs2832407 in patients with DSM-5 alcohol use disorder (AUD) who sought to reduce or stop their drinking. We stratified the randomization on genotype (rs2832407*C-allele homozygotes vs. A-allele carriers) and assigned 170 European-American participants (71.2% male) to receive 12 weeks of treatment with topiramate (N = 85), at a maximal daily dosage of 200 mg, or matching placebo (N = 85). At each of nine treatment visits participants received brief counseling to reduce drinking and increase abstinent days. We hypothesized that topiramate-treated patients with the rs2832407*CC genotype would reduce heavy drinking days (HDDs) more than the other three groups. The rate of treatment completion was 91.8% in both groups. The mean number of HDDs per week in the placebo group was 1.67 (95% CI = (1.29, 2.16), p = 0.0001) times greater than in the topiramate group, which was confirmed by the topiramate group's significantly greater reduction in the concentration of the liver enzyme γ-glutamyltransferase and lower alcohol-related problems score. There was no significant difference in topiramate's effect on HDDs between genotype groups. Although consistent with other studies showing a reduction in heavy drinking with topiramate treatment, the prior finding of a moderating effect of rs2832407 genotype was not replicated in this prospective trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcoholism* / drug therapy
  • Alcoholism* / genetics
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fructose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pharmacogenomic Testing*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Topiramate / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Topiramate
  • Fructose