Baclofen for alcohol withdrawal.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Apr 3;4:CD008502
Authors: Liu J, Wang LN
BACKGROUND: The treatment baclofen shows potential for rapidly reducing symptoms of severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) in people with alcoholism. Treatment with baclofen is easy to manage and rarely produces euphoria or other pleasant effects, or craving for the drug. This is an updated version of the original Cochrane review published in Issue 2, 2013.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy and safety of baclofen for people with AWS.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group Specialised Register (searched 13 January 2015), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL; 2015, Issue 1), MEDLINE (1966 to January 2015), EMBASE (1980 to January 2015), and CINAHL (1982 to January 2015). We also searched registers of ongoing trials, including ClinicalTrials.gov, the ISRCTN registry, and the European Clinical Trials Database. At the same time, we handsearched the references quoted in the identified trials, and sought information from researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and relevant trial authors about unpublished or uncompleted trials. We placed no restrictions on language.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We included all randomised controlled clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating baclofen versus placebo or any other treatment for people with AWS. We excluded uncontrolled, non-randomised, or quasi-randomised trials. We included both parallel group and cross-over studies.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed references retrieved for possible inclusion. Any disagreements were resolved by an independent party. We contacted study authors for additional information where needed. We collected adverse effects information from the trials.
MAIN RESULTS: Two RCTs with a total of 81 participants were eligible according to the inclusion criteria. One study suggested that both baclofen and diazepam significantly decreased the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol Scale, Revised (CIWA-Ar) score, without any significant difference between the two interventions. The other study showed no significant difference in CIWA-Ar score between baclofen and placebo, but a significantly decreased dependence on high-dose benzodiazepines with baclofen compared to placebo. Only one study reported on the safety of baclofen, without any side effects.
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: The evidence for recommending baclofen for AWS is insufficient. We therefore need more well-designed RCTs to prove its efficacy and safety.
PMID: 25836263 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]