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Ketamine, mindfulness therapy may be effective treatment for alcohol use disorder

11 January 2022

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Source / Disclosure

Disclosure: Grabsky reports receiving royalties for KRE therapy license distribution. Please refer to the study for the relevant financial disclosures of all authors.


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Ketamine and mindfulness training may be effective as adjunctive treatments for patients with alcohol use disorder, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 clinical trial published in the journal Alcoholism. american journal of psychiatry,

“Depressive symptoms are common in individuals entering treatment for AUD, and patients with such symptoms are at increased risk of alcohol relapse. The weeks following ketamine detoxification may be accompanied by temporary depressive symptoms during the high-risk relapse period. may support abstinence from alcohol by reducing symptoms.” My Grabsky, PHD, of the Center for Psychopharmacology and Addiction Research at the University of Exeter in the UK, and colleagues write

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“Ketamine may provide a temporary boost to synaptogenesis and neurogenesis, which may allow new strategies for psychological therapies and management of addiction to be more easily embedded,” he said.

Grabsky and his colleagues sought to compare the safety and effects of ketamine with a placebo in reducing severity and promoting abstinence in patients diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Additionally, efforts were made to assess the effectiveness of combining mindfulness therapy with ketamine and alcohol education as adjunctive therapy. The trial involved 96 patients aged 18 to 65 who were diagnosed with a severe alcohol use disorder. Trial participants were recruited for the study through social media, mainstream media advertisements, and primary care and secondary care drug and alcohol services. All participants were required to abstain from alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to the start of the test and post a reading of 0.0 on the breath test during the initial test visit.

Researchers randomly assigned participants to one of four courses of treatment: one group had three weekly ketamine infusions (0.8 mg/kg i.v. over 40 minutes) as well as psychological therapy lasting 1.5 hours; A second group had three saline infusions and psychological therapy; The third group had three ketamine infusions and an alcohol education lasting 1.5 hours; And the last group had three saline infusions and alcohol education.

Results were based on the percentage of self-reported days without alcohol consumption, as well as any remission during the 6-month follow-up assessment. A surveillance bracelet was placed on each participant on the first or second of 10 planned visits by clinical personnel and removed by the eighth visit to confirm the report.

The results showed a significant difference between the number of abstinence days recorded by the ketamine group compared to the placebo group at 6-month follow-up (mean difference = 10.1%, 95% CI = 1.1, 19.0). The greatest reduction in total abstinence days was found when the ketamine plus therapy group was compared with the saline plus education group (15.9%, 95% CI = 3.8, 28.1). However, no significant difference was recorded in the rate of relapse between the ketamine and placebo cohorts.

The researchers write that no serious adverse effects have been reported through the administration of the drug by any of the participants.

“That ketamine may reduce alcohol use and depression in AUD is clinically encouraging,” Grabsky and colleagues wrote. “While a clear link between depression and AUD is acknowledged, alcohol and mental health services still struggle to meet the needs of dual-diagnosed patients, so ketamine may be the solution to this long-standing comorbidity.” can represent.”

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