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Health Agencies Update
March 26, 2008

Predicting Naltrexone Response

JAMA. 2008;299(12):1417. doi:10.1001/jama.299.12.1417-c

Genetic tests may predict which patients with alcohol dependence will benefit from treatment with naltrexone, according to results from a large clinical trial funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Patients carrying 1 or more copies of the Asp40 allele of the gene encoding the μ opioid receptor drank less and stayed abstinent longer when treated with naltrexone compared with patients who were homozygous for an alternate allele (Asn40) who also received the drug (Anton RF et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65[2]:135-144). These results are based on genetic analysis of a subset of about 600 patients from the Combined Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Interventions for Alcohol Dependence Study. The study, a multisite clinical trial involving more than 1300 patients, compared the effectiveness of various therapies for alcohol dependence.