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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids in alcohol dependence treatment - A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study

The lipid fraction of cell membranes consists of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS), and chronic alcohol use alters it, modifying its permeability, what might contribute for the dysfunctional metabolism observed in the central nervous system of alcohol dependent patients. Therefore, the supplementation of PUFAS can be an important adjuvant in alcoholism treatment.

This was a placebo controlled, double blind, randomized study where, 80 alcohol dependent patients, according to DSM-IV, were allocated in four groups with 20 patient each: 'PUFAS', 'Naltrexone', 'Naltrexone + PUFAS' and 'Placebo'. Those substances were administered for 90 days and scales were applied to assess patients craving (OCDS) and alcohol dependence severity (SADD) at baseline and after 90 days. PUFAS serum levels were assessed before and after treatment by high performance liquid chromatography assay.

Forty-three patients completed the trial. There was a significant improvement over time on drinking days, SADD and OCDS scores in all groups (p < 0.001). The drinking days comparison between groups did not show statistical significant difference. The same effect was observed for compulsion (OCDS) and severity of dependence scale (SADD). The serum levels of PUFAS increased in all the supplemented groups after treatment, although not significantly.

The oral supplementation of 2g PUFAS for 3 months did not significantly differ from placebo in reducing the amount of alcohol ingestion, or OCDS and SADD scores in a group of alcohol dependent patient.

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