Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65(4):466-475.
Medication for the treatment of alcoholism is currently not particularly robust. Neuroimaging techniques might predict which medications could be useful in the treatment of alcohol dependence.
To explore the effect of naltrexone, ondansetron hydrochloride, or the combination of these medications on cue-induced craving and ventral striatum activation.
Functional brain imaging was conducted during alcohol cue presentation.The combination treatment decreased craving for alcohol. Naltrexone with (P = .02) or without (P = .049) ondansetron decreased alcohol cue–induced activation of the ventral striatum. Ondansetron by itself was similar to naltrexone and the combination in the overall analysis but intermediate in a region-specific analysis.
Consistent with animal data that suggest that both naltrexone and ondansetron reduce alcohol-stimulated dopamine output in the ventral striatum, the current study found evidence that these medications, alone or in combination, could decrease alcohol cue–induced activation of the ventral striatum, consistent with their putative treatment efficacy.
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