Behavioral responses to ethanol in light and moderate social drinkers following naltrexone pretreatment.Drug Alcohol Depend. 1997 Aug 25; 47(2):109-16.DA
The opioid antagonist naltrexone has been shown to be effective in the treatment of alcoholism, possibly by dampening the subjective effects of ethanol. However, naltrexone does not consistently attenuate the effects of ethanol in social drinkers in laboratory-based challenge studies. In the present study, 25 healthy volunteers, who were either light drinkers (mean = 3 drinks per week) or moderate drinkers (mean = 16 drinks per week), participated in six evening sessions. At each session, subjects ingested a capsule containing naltrexone (25 or 50 mg) or placebo, and 1 hr later they consumed a beverage containing ethanol (0.25 g/kg, equivalent to about two standard alcoholic drinks) or placebo. Subjects received all combinations of pretreatments and beverages. They completed self-report mood questionnaires and psychomotor tests at regular intervals. This low dose of ethanol produced modest but significant effects on self-report measures such as ratings of feeling a drug effect and of liking the drug effect. However, naltrexone (25 or 50 mg) pretreatment had no dampening effect on subjects' responses to ethanol. These results indicate that acute doses of naltrexone that are effective when administered chronically to alcoholics do not attenuate the acute effects of a low dose of ethanol in non-problem drinkers.