Increasing leptin precedes craving and relapse during pharmacological abstinence maintenance treatment of alcoholism
Kiefer F, Jahn H, Otte C, Demiralay C, Wolf K, Wiedemann K. J Psychiatr Res. 2005 Sep;39(5):545-551.
The appetite regulating peptide leptin has recently been associated with craving for alcohol and lifetime ethanol intake. However, effects of anti- craving drugs on leptin have not been studied until now.
The objective of our study was to test the hypothesis whether leptin plasma concentration in abstinent alcohol addicts during treatment with naltrexone vs. acamprosate is associated with abstinence duration and craving for alcohol. Leptin plasma concentration was measured in 160 recently detoxified alcohol addicts during a double-blind, placebo-controlled relapse prevention trial with naltrexone vs. acamprosate vs. naltrexone plus acamprosate. During placebo treatment, increasing leptin plasma concentration was observed, whereas during combined treatment with naltrexone and acamprosate, leptin decreased significantly. The change from baseline of leptin plasma levels after weeks 4, 8 and 12 was inversely correlated with duration of abstinence and, after 4 weeks, positively correlated with self-rated craving.
In summary, the study presents first evidence for an association of increasing leptin plasma concentrations with relapse to renewed alcohol intake in detoxified alcoholics. Moreover, there are hints for an interaction between pharmacological anti-craving treatment, plasma concentration of leptin, and abstinence duration.