Baclofen to prevent relapse in gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB)-dependent patients: A multicentre, open-label, non-randomized, controlled trial
Number of pages
SourceCNS Drugs, 32, 5, (2018), pp. 437-442
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
SubjectAll institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Background: Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) dependence is associated with a severe, potentially lethal, withdrawal syndrome and relapse rates as high as 60% within 3 months of detoxification. Baclofen has been shown to decrease self-administration of GHB in mice and reduce relapse in a case series of GHB-dependent patients. Controlled studies on the effectiveness of baclofen to prevent relapse in GHB-dependent patients are lacking. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess effectiveness of baclofen in preventing relapse in GHB-dependent patients. Methods: This was an out-patient, multicentre, open-label, non-randomized, controlled trial in GHB-dependent patients (n = 107) in the Netherlands. Treatment as usual (TAU, n = 70) was compared with TAU plus baclofen 45–60 mg/day for 3 months (n = 37). Outcome measures were rates of lapse (any use) and relapse (using GHB on average once a week or more), based on self-report. Side effects were monitored with a baclofen side-effects questionnaire. Treatment groups were compared using Chi square analyses, with both per-protocol (PP) and intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses. Results: GHB-dependent patients treated with baclofen after detoxification showed no reduced lapse rates, but reduced relapse and dropout rates, compared with patients receiving TAU only (24 vs 50%). While both ITT and PP analyses revealed similar results, the effectiveness of baclofen prescribed PP was slightly higher than in ITT analysis. Patients reported overall limited side effects, with the most frequently reported being feeling tired (28%), sleepiness (14%) and feeling depressed (14%). No serious adverse events were reported. Conclusions: This study showed potential effectiveness of baclofen in preventing relapse in patients with GHB dependence after detoxification. Though promising, future studies with longer follow-up and a randomized double-blind design should confirm these findings before recommendations for clinical practice can be made.
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