UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Gabapentin for Treatment of Alcohol Dependence

Keywords: alcohol, gabapentin, dependence (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/7/2014 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Emailed: 4/10/2014) (Updated: 4/10/2014)
Click here to contact Bryan Hayes, PharmD

In a 12-week treatment course,150 alcohol-dependent patients were randomized to receive placebo, gabapentin 900 mg/day, or gabapentin 1,800 mg/day.

  • The abstinence rate was 4.1% (95%CI, 1.1%-13.7%) in the placebo group, 11.1% (95%CI, 5.2%-22.2%) in the 900-mg group, and 17.0% (95%CI, 8.9%-30.1%) in the 1,800-mg group (P = .04 for linear dose effect; number needed to treat [NNT] = 8 for 1,800 mg).
  • The no heavy drinking rate was 22.5% (95%CI, 13.6%-37.2%) in the placebo group, 29.6% (95%CI, 19.1%-42.8%) in the 900-mg group, and 44.7% (95%CI, 31.4%-58.8%) in the 1,800-mg group (P = .02 for linear dose effect; NNT = 5 for 1,800 mg).
Gabapentin significantly improved the rates of abstinence and no heavy drinking. No serious adverse effects were reported.
Gabapentin may offer an additional treatment option for alcohol dependent patients.


Mason BJ, et al. Gabapentin treatment for alcohol dependence: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Intern Med 2014;174(1):70-7. [PMID 24190578]

Follow me on Twitter (@PharmERToxGuy) or Google Plus (+bryanhayes13)