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Should naltrexone be the first-line medicine to treat alcohol dependence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations? An Australian perspective

Australian Family Physician
Volume 44 Issue 11 (Nov 2015)

Abstract: Background: There is a pressing need to improve alcohol treatment services for Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander peoples with alcohol dependence. One component of treatment is the use of medicines including naltrexone and acamprosate. Access to these medicines among the general drinking population is poor and, anecdotally, even worse for Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander peoples who drink.

Objectives: This article aims to review the relative efficacy and safety of naltrexone. It will also discuss reasons why it may be a preferable first-line pharmacotherapy for Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander peoples with alcohol dependence who are seeking to change their drinking.

Discussion: The major effect of naltrexone is reducing episodic heavy drinking, a pattern often seen in Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander peoples with alcohol dependence. Possible genetic and epigenetic factors, and practical considerations including once-daily dosing also make naltrexone an appealing agent in this population.

To cite this article: Brett, Jonathan; Ivers, Rowena; Doyle, Michael; Lawrence, Leanne and Conigrave, Kate. Should naltrexone be the first-line medicine to treat alcohol dependence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations? An Australian perspective [online]. Australian Family Physician, Vol. 44, No. 11, Nov 2015: 815-819. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=585414821405859;res=IELHEA> ISSN: 0300-8495. [cited 29 Jul 16].

Personal Author: Brett, Jonathan; Ivers, Rowena; Doyle, Michael; Lawrence, Leanne; Conigrave, Kate; Source: Australian Family Physician, Vol. 44, No. 11, Nov 2015: 815-819 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 0300-8495 Subject: Naltrexone; Acamprosate; Alcohol--Health aspects; GABA; Aboriginal Australians--Health and hygiene; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Advanced Trainee Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Addiction Medicine, and Clinical Lecturer, University of Sydney, Sydney, and Drug Health Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Camperdown, NSW
(2) Clinical Lecturer, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW
(3) Doctor of Philosophy Candidate and Research Fellow, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
(4) Coordinator Drug and Alcohol Program, Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Centre, Wollongong, NSW
(5) Senior Staff Specialist Addiction Medicine, Advanced Trainee Clinical Pharmacology, Toxicology and Addiction Medicine, and Professor, University ofSydney, Sydney, NSW

Database: Health Collection