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Study of topiramate for heavy drinking earns award for researcher

January 15, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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The author of a 2014 study that demonstrated the anticonvulsant medication topiramate's potential in reducing heavy alcohol use has been named the recipient of the prestigious Dan Anderson Research Award from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Butler Center for Research.

Besides showing a reduction in heavy-drinking days and an increase in days abstinent, the study led by Henry R. Kranzler, MD, identified a patient subgroup that shared a specific gene form and saw particularly strong outcomes in the study. The Yale University professor who nominated the University of Pennsylvania's Kranzler for the award stated that “this is likely to be one of Dr. Kranzler's most influential papers, bringing together a treatment trial of an important medication in the treatment of hazardous drinking with a genetic predictor that may be expected to bring alcohol dependence treatment into the new and expanding realm of personalized medicine,” states a Jan. 15 news release from Hazelden Betty Ford.

Kranzler, director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, will receive the award later this year. The study, “Topiramate Treatment for Heavy Drinkers: Moderation by a GRIK1 Polymorphism,” was published last year in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The sample for the placebo-controlled study comprised 138 individuals who reported weekly hazardous drinking (an average of 24 or more drinks per week for men and 18 or more drinks for women) and expressed a strong desire to reduce their drinking.

The Butler Center's award honors a single published article that advances the scientific knowledge of addiction treatment and recovery.

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