Author(s): Bisaga A, Evans SM
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Alcohol effects in humans involve gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission. It has been proposed that GABAergic medications may be effective in the treatment of alcohol dependence. This study evaluated the acute effects of gabapentin, an anticonvulsant that increases extracellular GABA, on the subjective, physiological, and performance effects of alcohol in heavy (mean 34 drinks per week) alcohol drinkers. METHODS: Seventeen volunteers without alcohol dependence were tested using a double-blind design with three 3-day long inpatient phases, each separated by at least a 1-week wash-out period. Each phase, gabapentin (0, 1000, or 2000mg) was administered 4h before alcohol (0.75g/kg), which was given in four divided doses every 20min. RESULTS: Gabapentin impaired the ability to balance without producing changes in subjective, physiological or other performance measures. Pretreatment with gabapentin did not significantly alter subjective and performance effects of alcohol and did not alter alcohol craving. Gabapentin, dose-dependently enhanced alcohol-induced tachycardia. CONCLUSIONS: Acute gabapentin administration was well tolerated in combination with alcohol, but did not alter the effects of alcohol.
This article was published in Drug Alcohol Depend
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation