DAILY / MAY 6, 2012, VOL. 2, NO. 19   Send Feedback l View Online
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2012 APA's Annual Meeting Special Edition
Challenges in Addiction Treatment Examined

Henry KranzlerThe lack of effective pharmacologic treatments for alcohol dependence is a solvable problem, said Henry Kranzler, M.D., a professor of psychiatry, associate scientific director of the Alcohol Research Center and program director of the General Clinical Research Center at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, who spoke to a large audience at APA’s 2012 annual meeting today. As a co-chair of the “Advances in Addiction Psychopharmacology” seminar, Kranzler reviewed the four FDA-approved medications for alcohol dependence: Antabuse, Revia, Campral, and Vivitrol, citing the limitations of each. “It is only a matter of time and investment for us to find novel pharmacologic options with greater effect,” he said.

Until then, it’s possible that clinicians may be required to accept different outcomes from those they have in mind. “Clinicians who require abstinence as an end result may be put off by the real-life effects of naltrexone,” he said, which often leads to less frequent and less heavy drinking, but not abstinence.

One attendee pointed out the difficulty of applying the few available treatments to patients with comorbid dependencies, since most published studies have eliminated such patients from their study populations. “It's a little like looking for your keys under the lamppost because the light is better there, even though you lost them somewhere else,” Kranzler said, pointing out that those with alcohol dependence often have comorbidities, and future studies of potential treatments should address that reality.


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