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March 1989

Lithium Carbonate Prophylaxis of Alcoholism: Its Time Has Come-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry Rush-Presbyterian—St Luke's Medical Center 1753 W Congress Pkwy Chicago, IL 60612

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(3):290-291. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810030096016

In Reply.—  We are pleased that Dr Flemenbaum, an early advocate of lithium carbonate trials for alcoholic patients with primary subsyndromal affective disorder, brought his article1 and hypotheses to our attention, and we apologize for overlooking it in our initial reports. In his 1974 report, he proposed symptomatic criteria that might distinguish between primary alcoholism and alcoholism secondary to subsyndromal affective disorder and, therefore, between alcoholics who might and might not benefit from lithium carbonate therapy.In the course of the 1985 American Psychiatric Association presentation, Dr Flemenbaum mentioned that one of us (J.F.) reported preliminary results of our study on lithium carbonate therapy for alcoholism.2,3 The numbers Dr Flemenbaum attributes to us are not the same numbers we presented, and this error accounts for our different interpretations. Our research staff interviewed patient subjects and significant others between seven and 21 days following admission to an inpatient alcoholism rehabilitation

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