초록 close

Alcohol dependence is a chronic disorder that results from a variety of genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. Relapse prevention for alcohol dependence has traditionally involved psychosocial and psychotherapeutic interventions. Pharmacotherapy, however, in conjunction with behavioral therapy, is generating interest as another modality to prevent relapse and enhance abstinence. Naltrexone and acamprosate are at the forefront of the currently available pharmacological options. Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist and is thought to reduce the rewarding effect of alcohol. Acamprosate normalizes the dysregulation of N-methyl-D- aspartate (NMDA)-mediated glutamatergic excitation that occurs in alcohol withdrawal and early abstinence.These different mechanisms of action and different target neurotransmitter systems may endow the two drugs with efficacy for different aspects of alcohol use behavior. Since not all patients seem to benefit from naltrexone and acamprosate, there are ongoing efforts to improve the treatment outcomes by examining the advantages of combined pharmacotherapy and exploring the variables that might predict the response of the medications. In addition, novel medications are being investigated to assess their efficacy in preventing relapse and increasing abstinence.