Topiramate may Modulate Alcohol Abuse But not Other Compulsive Behaviors in Frontotemporal Dementia: Case Report

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Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is an insidious presenile neurodegenerative disorder presenting with personality changes, compulsive behaviors, psychosis, apathetic, aberrant, and elated mood and behavior. No psychopharmacologic strategy has proven to be efficacious in the treatment of FTD yet. This is a case report of FTD in a 53-year-old male engineer whose alcohol abuse, but not other compulsive behaviors, responded to topiramate. Alcohol exerts reinforcing effects on cortico-mesolimbic dopamine pathways through the disinhibition of the inhibitory effects of γ-amino-butyric acid-A neurons in the ventral tegmental area. Topiramate is a sulfamate-substituted fructopyranose derivative that may antagonize the reinforcing effects associated with the abuse liability of alcohol by modulation of cortico-mesolimbic dopamine function. On the basis of the mechanism of action of topiramate, we discuss the possible specificity of action of topiramate to control abusive drinking, but not to treat other clinical symptoms of FTD.

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