GHB more effective than Naltrexone in alcoholism

Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid versus naltrexone in maintaining alcohol abstinence: an open randomized comparative study
Caputo F, Addolorato G, Lorenzini F, Domenicali M,
Greco G, del RE A, Gasbarrini G, Stefanini GF, Bernardi M.
Department of Internal Medicine, Cardioangiology and Hepatology,
‘G. Fontana’ Centre for the Study and Treatment of Alcohol Addiction,
University of Bologna, Via Massarenti no. 9,
40138, Bologna, Italy
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003 May 1;70(1):85-91


maintaining abstinence from alcohol is the main goal in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Naltrexone (NTX) and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) have proved able to maintain alcohol abstinence in alcoholic subjects. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of GHB compared with NTX in maintaining abstinence from alcohol after 3 months of treatment. A total of 35 alcohol-dependent outpatients were randomly enrolled in two groups: the GHB group consisted of 18 patients treated with oral doses of GHB (50 mg/kg of body weight t.i.d) for 3 months; the NTX group consisted of 17 patients treated with oral doses of NTX (50 mg/day) for 3 months. At the end of the study, a statistically significant difference (P=0.02) was found in the number of abstinent patients between the GHB and the NTX groups. In patients who failed to be abstinent, no relapses in heavy drinking were observed in the NTX group, while in the GHB group all patients relapsed. The results of the present study show that GHB is more effective than NTX in maintaining abstinence from alcohol in a short-term treatment period; on the other hand, NTX confirmed its ability to reduce alcohol relapses.

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