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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Efficacy and Safety of Pregabalin in the Treatment of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial

The objective of this study was to collect preliminary data on the efficacy and safety of pregabalin in attenuating the severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms during detoxification treatment in alcohol dependence.

Forty-two alcohol-dependent patients with an alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) were included in the prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial during inpatient alcohol detoxification. For 6 days, participants either received pregabalin or placebo according to a fixed dose schedule starting with 300 mg/day. Depending on the score of the AWS Scale (AWSS), diazepam was additionally administered as a rescue medication. The primary endpoint was the total amount of diazepam required from Day 2 to 6 of detoxification treatment in each of the two groups. Secondary outcome variables were the difference in AWSS and Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol (CIWA-Ar) scores between Day 2 and 6, tolerability and safety data, drop-out rates as well as changes in the neuropsychological scales.

Pregabalin and placebo were equally safe and well tolerated. However, no statistically significant difference was found comparing the total amount of additional diazepam medication required in the two study groups. Pregabalin and placebo also showed similar efficacy according to alterations of scores of the AWSS, CIWA-Ar and neuropsychological scales. The frequency of adverse events and drop-outs did not differ between the both treatment groups.

The study demonstrates the relative safety of pregabalin in the treatment of AWS. However, the results do not provide evidence in favor of pregabalin compared with placebo concerning its efficacy in the treatment of AWS.

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