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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Topamax as Alcohol and Bipolar Treatment

08/06/2003

Question:

How effective is the use of Topamax in the treatment of alcoholism? my daughter`s psychiatrist is recommending the use of this drug for her bipolar disorder as well as the alcoholism but says the studies are few but promising

Answer:

UPDATED INFORMATION:

Hello,

Sorry for the delay in answering your question. There is one major article I found on the use of Topamax in alcoholism. The study was published in a journal called the Lancet in May 2003. This study lasted 12 weeks and involved giving the medication versus placebo (sugar pill) to a total of 150 patients. The results suggest that Topamax in this study has advantages over placebo. Patients taking Topamax had fewer reported drinking days, fewer drinks per day on the days they drank, one half the number of heavy drinking days,and 2-3 times the number of days totally abstinent from alcohol. This is still in early research studies and more trials and studies need to be done. However, for an alcoholic bipolar patient, Topamax certainly looks promising. Thanks for your question. The article is on www.thelancet.com, Vol 361, May 17, 2003 (subscription only).

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Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University