Background: Several single-site alcohol treatment clinical trials have demonstrated efficacy for immediate-release (IR) gabapentin in reducing drinking outcomes among individuals with alcohol dependence. The purpose of this study was to conduct a large, multisite clinical trial of gabapentin enacarbil extended-release (GE-XR) (HORIZANT ® ), a gabapentin prodrug formulation, to determine its safety and efficacy in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD). Methods: Men and women (n = 346) who met DSM-5 criteria for at least moderate AUD were recruited across 10 U.S. clinical sites. Participants received double-blind GE-XR (600 mg twice a day) or placebo and a computerized behavioral intervention (Take Control) for 6 months. Efficacy analyses were prespecified for the last 4 weeks of the treatment period. Results: The GE-XR and placebo groups did not differ significantly on the primary outcome measure, percentage of subjects with no heavy drinking days (28.3 vs. 21.5, respectively, p = 0.157). Similarly, no clinical benefit was found for other drinking measures (percent subjects abstinent, percent days abstinent, percent heavy drinking days, drinks per week, drinks per drinking day), alcohol craving, alcohol-related consequences, sleep problems, smoking, and depression/anxiety symptoms. Common side-effects were fatigue, dizziness, and somnolence. A population pharmacokinetics analysis revealed that patients had lower gabapentin exposure levels compared with those in other studies using a similar dose but for other indications. Conclusions: Overall, GE-XR at 600 mg twice a day did not reduce alcohol consumption or craving in individuals with AUD. It is possible that, unlike the IR formulation of gabapentin, which showed efficacy in smaller Phase 2 trials at a higher dose, GE-XR is not effective in treating AUD, at least not at doses approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating other medical conditions.
- Alcohol Use Disorder
- Gabapentin Enacarbil Extended-Release
- Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health