Several studies have suggested the efficacy of baclofen in reducing alcohol consumption, leading to a temporary recommendation for use in France.Aim
Our aim was to report our experience in using baclofen in alcohol-dependant patients with or without liver cirrhosis.Patients and methods
Consecutive patients from two liver and alcohol units were recruited over a 3-year period and received increasing doses of baclofen associated with social, psychological, and medical care.Results
One hundred patients were treated, of whom 65 were cirrhotic. After 1 year, 86 patients were still being followed up. At a mean dosage of 40 mg/day (extremes: 30–210), the median daily alcohol consumption reduced from 80 to 0 g/day (P<0.001). Twenty patients drank a small amount of alcohol of up to 30 g/day and 44 patients were completely abstinent. These declarative results were associated with a significant improvement in alcohol-related biological markers in this ‘low-consumption’ group of 64 patients: the median γ-glutamyl transferase decreased from 3.9 to 2.0 UNL (P<0.001), the mean aspartate transaminase decreased from 2.6 to 1.2 UNL (P<0.001), and the mean corpuscular volume decreased from 101 to 93 µm3 (P<0.001). In cirrhotic patients, bilirubinemia decreased significantly from 22 to 11 µmol/l (P=0.026), prothrombin time increased from 68 to 77% (P<0.001), and albuminemia increased from 34.1 to 37.4 g/l (P<0.001). Twenty patients reported grades 1–2 adverse events. No liver or renal function deterioration occurred in cirrhotic patients.Conclusion
In our cohort, baclofen associated with a global care was very well tolerated even in cirrhotic patients. The marked reduction in alcohol consumption in 64 patients translated into a significant improvement in biological markers and in liver function tests. Baclofen could be very useful, especially in cases of severe alcoholic liver disease.