Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 159
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825410

Leptin plasma levels and craving data during alcohol withdrawal

T Kraus 1, K Bayerlein 1, U Reulbach 1, S Bleich 1
  • 1Klinik mit Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie der Universität Erlangen, Deutschland

Background: The appetite and weight regulating peptide leptin was recently associated to craving for alcohol during withdrawal. Despite the possibly high impact, the result has not yet been verified so far. No exact data on the course of leptin levels during withdrawal are available.

Methods: We performed a prospective study investigating 66 patients during alcohol withdrawal on days 0 (admission), 1, 2, and 7 / 10. Plasma leptin levels were determined, and craving for ethanol was assessed using a large battery of self-rating scales.

Results: Leptin plasma levels increased significantly during alcohol withdrawal, while craving values decreased significantly. Leptin concentrations did not consistently predict craving values.

Conclusions: Leptin seems to be involved in neurobiological mechanisms of alcohol withdrawal. A direct influence on the phenomenon of craving has to be questioned.