Objective: To assess the efficacy of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) in the treatment of alcoholism.
Material and methods: A systematic review of electronic medical databases (Medline/Pubmed, Embase) was performed to find relevant clinical publication (all up to November 2011). Only randomized double-blind controlled trials comparing a SSRI with placebo in the treatment of alcohol dependence were considered for study inclusion. We used the following key words: alcohol, alcoholics, fluoxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, citalopram i escitalopram.
Results: Eight randomized controlled studies (1105 participants, aged between 18 and 75 years) were included in the analysis.
Conclusions: There is no evidence that SSRIs are therapeutically effective to a heterogeneous population. A significant interaction between efficacy of SSRIs and co-occurring depressive disorder or alcoholic subtypes and alcohol dependence was found. Subtyping alcohol-dependent subjects may help to explain mixed results in the literature on the efficacy of SSRIs treatment in alcohol dependence and allows address these medicines to the appropriate group of patients.