Pharmacotherapy and Mechanisms of Sleep Disturbance in Alcohol Dependence

2014-07-23 21:11:47 | BioPortfolio


Insomnia and other sleep abnormalities are common, persistent, and associated with relapse in alcohol-dependent patients. The overall, long-term objectives of the proposed research are to investigate the neurophysiologic mechanisms of sleep disturbance that are associated with relapse in patients with alcohol dependence, and to target those mechanisms with medication in order to reduce relapse risk.

The specific research aims are:

1. To investigate three potential mechanisms of sleep disturbance in alcoholic patients: impaired sleep drive, impaired circadian regulation of alertness, and brain hyperactivation;

2. To investigate short-term effects of medication on sleep and its regulatory mechanisms in alcoholics;

3. To investigate the short-term clinical course of alcoholism as a function of baseline sleep parameters.

In Study Phases I & II (Screening & Baseline: 10+ days), subjects are assessed to diagnose alcohol dependence, determine baseline values for drinking and sleeping, and rule out confounding sleep-impairing causes.

Phase III (Medication: 10 days), is a randomized, double-blind parallel design comparison of gabapentin vs. placebo on mechanisms of sleep. It is not a therapeutic or clinical trial. Phases II & III each have 7 days of monitoring sleep and activity, followed by 3 nights in the sleep laboratory to assess all-night EEG activity and Dim-Light Melatonin Onset (DLMO), a measure of circadian rhythm.

Phase IV is a 2-day medication taper and Phase V (Follow-up) consists of one visit after 12 weeks to assess course of drinking.

In summary, sleep disturbance in alcoholic patients increases their risk of relapse. This study proposes to investigate the mechanisms causing sleep disturbance in alcoholics and to determine if those mechanisms predict return to drinking after 12 weeks.

Relevance: Alcoholism is a devastating chronic disorder that in any one year affects 10% of adults, costs over $185 billion, and causes more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. Despite treatment, most alcoholic patients achieve only short-term abstinence. Medically-based treatment improvements are needed that target neurophysiologic mechanisms of relapse. Overall public health will be improved by developing science-based treatments that can augment existing, but only partially effective, treatment approaches.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator)


Alcohol Dependence


Gabapentin or placebo dispensed to subject., Gabapentin or placebo dispensed to subject.


University of Michigan Health System
Ann Arbor
United States




University of Michigan

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:11:47-0400

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