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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sleep Disturbance in Alcoholism: Proposal of a Simple Measurement, and Results from a 24-Week Randomized Controlled Study of Alcohol-Dependent Patient

Sleep disturbance symptom (SDS) is commonly reported in alcoholic patients. Polysomnography studies suggested that acamprosate decreased SDS. We assessed this hypothesis by using data of a randomized controlled trial. As a secondary objective, we suggested and tested the validity of a simple measurement of SDS based on the Hamilton depression and anxiety inventory subset.

We re-analysed a multi-center study evaluating the efficacy of acamprosate compared with placebos on alcohol-dependent patients in concentrating on SDS change in time. The Sleep sum score index (SAEI) was built from check-lists on adverse effects reported at each visit and constituted our main endpoint. We also tested the validity of the short sleep index (SSI) defined by the four sleep items of the Hamilton depression and anxiety scales. Statistical analyses were conducted on an intention to treat basis.

A total of 592 patients were included, and 292 completed the 6-month trial. Compared with SAEI considered as our reference, the observed specificity and sensitivity of SSI were 91.6 and 87.6%. From 40.2% of patients experiencing SDS at baseline, this proportion decreased until 26.1% at M6 in the placebo group and 19.5% in the acamprosate group (relative risk placebo/acamprosate = 1.49, 95% confidence interval 1.10, 1.98, P = 0.04).

Treating alcoholic patients to enhance abstinence has a beneficial effect in reducing SDS, and the duration of abstinence during the treatment constitutes the main positive factor. An additional effect of acamprosate is conjectured from its effect on the glutamatergic tone. The SSI constitutes a simple, reasonably sensitive and specific instrument tool to measure SDS.

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