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Keywords:

  • Acamprosate;
  • alcoholism;
  • genotype;
  • matching;
  • naltrexone;
  • pharmacogenomics

ABSTRACT

Acamprosate and naltrexone are effective medications in the treatment of alcoholism. However, effect sizes are modest. Pharmacogenomics may improve patient-treatment-matching and effect sizes. It is hypothesized that naltrexone exerts its effect through genetic characteristics associated with the dopaminergic/opioidergic positive reinforcement system, whereas acamprosate works through the glutamatergic/GABAergic negative reinforcement system. Alcohol-dependent subjects were randomly assigned to either acamprosate or naltrexone. Subjects participated in a cue-exposure experiment at the day before and at the last day of medication. Reductions in cue-induced craving and physiological cue reactivity were measured. Differential effects of naltrexone and acamprosate on these outcomes were tested for different polymorphisms of the opioid, dopamine, glutamate and GABA-receptors. Significant matching effects were found for polymorphisms at the DRD2, GABRA6 and GABRB2 gene. In addition, a trend was found for the OPRM1 polymorphism. This provides evidence for the matching potential of genotypes. It is expected that more effective treatments can be offered when genetic information is used in patient-treatment-matching.