Study Suggests Gabapentin Improves Treatment Outcomes

A recent study reveals that the generic drug, gabapentin “significantly improved the rates of abstinence and no heavy drinking” among patients in treatment for alcohol addiction. While commonly regarded as an effective tool in alcohol detox, new research shows that gabapentin improves sleep-related variables that commonly contribute to alcohol relapse. The new findings were revealed at the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry’s 24th Annual Meeting and Symposium on December 7, 2013, and support the initial hypothesis that drinking outcomes are related to sleep measures. The study definitively shows that alcoholics who get adequate sleep are less prone to relapse andmore likely to cut back on their alcohol intake.It also illustrates a clear correlation between gabapentin intake and polysomnograph sleep metrics related to alcohol relapse.

The findings are a promising stride in better understanding the psychology and sleep implications of alcoholism. Sleep-related issues such as insomnia are commonly overlooked in the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism. This study is among the first to examine objective sleep measures and provides direct evidence of gabapentin’s effectiveness inimproving specific sleep parameters that affect relapse. The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Health. Gabapentin has been among the promising drugs for the treatment of substance abuse-related insomnia.

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