A new trial at the University of Amsterdam found no evidence for the usefulness of high-dose baclofen in treating alcoholism when added to psychosocial treatments.
Recently, the drug received high visibility as a possible breakthrough treatment for alcohol dependence.
Recent trials have suggested high doses of the GABA-b agonist baclofen can be effective in the treatment of alcohol dependent patients.
A recent article Medical News Today noted that recent studie, coupled with individual patient testimonies, have given baclofen a high public profile, prompting the French authorities in 2014 to give permission to physicians to prescribe high doses baclofen for alcohol-dependent patients, pending results from ongoing randomized clinical trials.
Even before that permission, more than 200,000 persons had used baclofen "off label" in France alone. Baclofen is licenced for use as a skeletal muscle relaxant for spasms (spasticity).
Now researchers from the Netherlands have carried out the largest randomised controlled trial (RCT) on baclofen for alcohol dependence so far. Their report, published in the peer-reviewed journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, indicates that the effects of the drug may add little to the effect provided by psychosocial treatment.
The use of Baclofen for alcohol dependence was stimulated by the book 'The end of my addiction', written by the French physician Olivier Ameisen, who claimed to have cured his own alcohol dependence by self-administering a high dose of Baclofen. Until then, Baclofen had been used in a much lower dose as a muscle relaxant for spasms (spasticity).