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Gender effects in pharmacological relapse prevention of alcoholism
Recent data support that genetic background, onset, and outcome of alcohol dependence differ markedly between female and male patients (Cloninger et al. 1996, Mann et al. 2000). However, studies dealing systematically with the interaction of gender and therapeutic intervention remain rare. Especially the observation of gender effects in pharmacological relapse prevention trials with acamprosate and naltrexone might be helpful, since distinct neurobiological systems were tackled (glutamatergic system, opioidergic system) helping to interpret possibly differential effects on the maintenance of abstinence in females and males.
Based on this, we analysed the data of the first controlled trial comparing and combining acamprosate and naltrexone in the relapse prevention of alcoholism (Kiefer et al. 2003) with respect to the interaction of gender and outcome. Data show marked differences in abstinence duration between females and males especially in the naltrexone group. These data will be discussed and interpreted.