Introduction:Topiramate (TOP) and anticonvulsants in general are considered safe and effective drugs for the treatment of alcohol dependence, even though TOP-induced adverse events are quite common, especially for high initial doses or if titration to 300 mg/d is too rapid. The aim of the present study was to assess the efficacy and tolerability profile of low-dose TOP for relapse prevention.
After detoxification, 52 patients were randomized into 2 groups as follows: 26 patients received 100 mg of TOP (oral, twice daily), titrated over 2 weeks, and 26 patients received placebo (PLA). Both groups underwent rehabilitation twice a week.
After 6 weeks of treatment, compared with the PLA group, patients receiving TOP showed the following: (1) fewer drinking days (P < 0.05); (2) less daily alcohol consumption (P < 0.05); (3) more days of treatment (P < 0.05); (4) reduced levels of craving (Obsessive-Compulsive Drinking Scale) and withdrawal symptoms (Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol-Revised); and (5) improvement of anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive symptom severity (Symptom Check List 90 Revised).
Despite the small sample size and the short follow-up period, the present PLA-controlled study demonstrated the potential usefulness of TOP, even when administered at a dosage of 100 mg/d, for the treatment of detoxified alcohol-dependent subjects, confirming results from previous studies testing higher doses of TOP.