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Report Points to Two New Medications That Show Promise in Fighting Alcoholism

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Press Release Date: Tuesday, April 13

Two new medications, naltrexone and acamprosate, show promise in treating alcoholism, according to an evidence report, summarized in the April 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings are drawn from a recently released analysis of the available scientific evidence on pharmaceutical agents—both traditional and newer—used in the treatment of alcohol dependence, and their effect on factors such as craving, relapse, abstinence, and total drinking or nondrinking days.

Naltrexone has been in use in the United States for the treatment of alcoholism only since 1994. Acamprosate is widely used in Europe and has been granted investigational drug status within this country by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Clinical trials are currently underway. The evidence report, Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Dependence, was prepared by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) for the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). RTI-UNC is one of 12 AHCPR Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs) in the United States and Canada under contract to AHCPR.

Editor's Note: For further details about the evidence report, including interview requests with the principals at the Research Triangle Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, contact: Reid Maness, Communications Director, Research Triangle Institute, (919) 541-7044;

Select for a four-page summary of the report, Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Dependence (AHCPR 99-E003). Print copies of the summary are also available through AHCPR's Clearinghouse; to order, phone 1-800-358-9295. The full report will be available by summer 1999.

For additional information contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Harriett Bennett, (301) 427-1861 (; Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (

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