A randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole for the treatment of alcohol dependence

Raymond F. Anton, Henry Kranzler, Christopher Breder, Ronald N. Marcus, William H. Carson, Jian Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole with placebo in the treatment of alcoholics. In this 12-week multicenter, double-blind study, 295 patients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition alcohol dependence were randomized to treatment with aripiprazole (initiated at 2 mg/d, titrated to a maximum dose of 30mg/d at day 28) or placebo after screening, wherein patients maintained alcohol abstinence for 3 days or more. The primary efficacy measure was the percentage of days abstinent over 12 weeks. Discontinuations (40.3% vs 26.7%) and treatment-related adverse events (82.8% vs 63.6%) were higher with aripiprazole than with placebo. Mean percentage of days abstinent was similar between aripiprazole and placebo (58.7% vs 63.3%; P = 0.227). Percentage of subjects without a heavy drinking day and the time to first drinking day were also comparable between groups, although the aripiprazole group had fewer drinks per drinking day (4.4 vs 5.5 drinks; P < 0.001). The aripiprazole group showed a larger decrease in percent carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, a biomarker of heavy alcohol consumption at weeks 4 (-14.91% vs -2.23%; P = 0.020) and 8 (-16.92% vs -5.33%; P = 0.021), although not at week 12 (-9.06% vs -4.12%; P = 0.298). At study end point, aripiprazole-treated subjects reported more positive subjective treatment effects and less overall severity of alcohol dependence than placebo-treated subjects. Although there was no difference between aripiprazole and placebo on the primary end point, possibly because of dose-related attrition, effects on the secondary outcomes suggest that further study of aripiprazole for treatment of alcohol dependence may be warranted at lower doses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical psychopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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