Topiramate Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders in Veterans With PTSD: A Pilot Controlled Trial of Augmentation Therapy

2014-08-27 03:15:11 | BioPortfolio


The proposed project aims to:

1. Obtain a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of topiramate treatment in reducing alcohol use in veterans with PTSD and alcohol dependence;

2. Obtain preliminary assessments of safety/tolerability of topiramate in these patients;

3. Assess the feasibility of recruitment and retention for topiramate treatment in this comorbid population; and 4) to inform the design of a planned subsequent larger controlled trial of topiramate.

PRIMARY HYPOTHESIS: Topiramate treatment combined with Medical Management alcohol counseling will be associated with a significant increase in percent days abstinent from baseline to end of treatment.

SECONDARY HYPOTHESIS: There will be a significantly greater percent of days abstinent from alcohol use in the topiramate treatment group compared to the placebo group.


The goal of the proposed project is to improve the treatment of veterans with co-occurring PTSD and alcohol dependence. Exposure to the stresses of combat is known to be associated with risk for both PTSD and alcohol and other substance use. PTSD and alcohol use disorders occur frequently among returning OEF/OIF veterans. Alcohol and substance use are risk factors for the development of PTSD, moderators of PTSD symptom severity, and potential consequences of PTSD. Alcohol is by far the most common substance of abuse in patients with PTSD, and its use may represent an attempt by PTSD patients to "self-medicate" symptoms such as hyperarousal. However, to date there has been little research to develop pharmacotherapies that would, ideally, reduce both alcohol use and PTSD symptoms.

Topiramate is one of the few medications for alcohol dependence that has also been tested as a potential medication to treat PTSD. Topiramate's efficacy in alcohol dependence has been shown in two recent large controlled trials. Several open trials have suggested that topiramate may be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms while the results of two small controlled trials have been mixed.

A clinical trial of topiramate is therefore indicated in order to achieve the following specific aims:

The primary aim is to obtain a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of topiramate in increasing the percent of days abstinent from alcohol use from baseline to the end of treatment in veterans with PTSD and alcohol abuse/dependence who are drinking heavily.

The secondary aim is to obtain a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of topiramate in increasing the percent of days abstinent from alcohol as compared to placebo.

Additional aims include the following:

- To obtain a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of topiramate in reducing other measures of alcohol use such as percent heavy drinking days, number of drinks per week, number of drinks per drinking day, and alcohol craving.

- To obtain a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of topiramate in reducing PTSD symptom severity in veterans with chronic PTSD and alcohol abuse/dependence.

- Informing the design of a planned subsequent larger controlled trial of topiramate in veterans with chronic PTSD and alcohol abuse/dependence

- To obtain an estimate of topiramate vs. placebo effect size for future studies. B. To obtain a preliminary assessment of the effects of topiramate treatment on measures of risk-taking behavior in veterans with chronic PTSD and alcohol abuse/dependence.

To achieve these aims, we will conduct a prospective, parallel groups, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled flexible-dose pilot clinical trial of topiramate in veterans with PTSD and alcohol abuse/dependence who are already receiving standard treatment for PTSD but still drink heavily. The primary treatment outcome will be percent days abstinent from alcohol; secondary outcomes will include other alcohol use measures, PTSD symptom severity, adverse effects, recruitment and retention rates.

Study Design

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




Topiramate, Placebo administration


San Francisco VA Medical Center
San Francisco
United States


Not yet recruiting


University of California, San Francisco

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:15:11-0400

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