Naltrexone & SSRI in Alcoholics With Depression/PTSD

2014-08-27 03:44:06 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of naltrexone in combination with an SSRI to reduce alcohol consumption in alcoholic patients with comorbid PTSD and depression.

We hypothesize that the combination of naltrexone and SSRI will exhibit a greater decrease in alcohol consumption than that seen with treatment with SSRI alone, or with a combination of another class of antidepressant and naltrexone. We also hypothesize that SSRI will be effective in treating PTSD and depressive symptoms and naltrexone will be well tolerated.


OBJECTIVE: Alcoholics with current comorbid mental disorders constitute the majority of alcoholics in clinical settings. Although there are two FDA approved medications for the treatment of alcoholism (naltrexone and disulfiram), there are no established pharmacotherapies for individuals with comorbid alcoholism and psychiatric illnesses. Studies suggest that the class of antidepressants known as serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is effective in reducing alcohol use in depressed individuals. In addition, a small open label study has shown that SSRIs have similar effects on individuals with comorbid PTSD and alcoholism. Preclinical studies have shown that the combination of a serotonergic agent and naltrexone was more effective than either medication alone in suppressing alcohol intake. To address this issue, we are conducting a 13 week randomized clinical trial evaluating the effects of paroxetine, desipramine and naltrexone in reducing alcohol use in alcohol dependent individuals who currently meet DSM-IV diagnosis for Depressive Disorder or PTSD. RESEARCH PLAN: One hundred and twenty subjects who are alcohol dependent patients with comorbid PTSD or Depressive Disorder will be recruited from the following West Haven VA sources: the Substance Abuse Treatment program, the PTSD clinic, the Women's clinic, clinical referrals and advertisement. These subjects will be randomized in a double-blind fashion to one of four cells. We will compare paroxetine versus desipramine and naltrexone versus placebo. The antidepressant will be started at a low dose and titrated upward on a fixed schedule. The target dose will be 40mg for paroxetine and 200mg for desipramine. Minimum dosage permitted for study retention will be 20mg for paroxetine and 150mg for desipramine. Pharmacological treatments will last 13 weeks. Psychosocial treatment will involve medication compliance therapy, using the Microelectric Event Monitoring (MEMS) bottle caps. The specific aim of the research is to compare the relative effectiveness of paroxetine versus desipramine and naltrexone versus placebo in reducing the quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption. METHODOLOGY: The primary outcome measures of major interest will include: frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption, self-reported craving, self-reported psychiatric and emotional distress, diagnostic assessment or psychiatric symptoms and side effects. These outcomes will be measured by the following: self-assessments, Timeline Followback, Hamilton Depression and anxiety scales, CAPS, ASI, Quality of Life, breathalyzer tests and monthly liver function tests.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment




paroxetine, desipramine, naltrexone


VA Connecticut Healthcare Systems
West Haven
United States


Active, not recruiting


Yale University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:44:06-0400

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