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July 1989

Effective Pharmacotherapy of Alcoholic Amnestic Disorder With Fluvoxamine: Preliminary Findings

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Clinical Studies, Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Drs Martin, Adinoff, Eckardt, Stapleton, Bone, Lane, and Linnoila), and Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health (Dr Rubinow), Bethesda, Md. Dr Martin is now with the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(7):617-621. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810070043008

• Ten patients with alcoholic chronic organic brain disease were categorized as having alcohol amnestic disorder, or Korsakoff's psychosis (n = 6), dementia associated with alcoholism (n = 3), or compensated alcoholic liver disease (n =1). All patients had severe deficits in memory for recently acquired information (episodic memory). Patients with alcohol dementia also showed global intellectual decline, including decreased performance on measures of semantic (knowledge) memory and reduction in levels of cerebrospinal fluid somatostatin. In a 4-week double-blind crossover design, the serotonin-uptake blocker fluvoxamine maleate (100 to 200 mg/d) was found to improve episodic memory in only the patients with alcohol amnestic disorder. These improvements in memory were significantly correlated with reductions in levels of cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, suggesting that facilitation of serotonergic neurotransmission may ameliorate the episodic memory failure in patients with alcohol amnestic disorder.

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