This study will assess naltrexone's effectiveness in treating alcoholism in women and
provide information on its potential value in treating eating disorders common among
alcoholic women. Alcoholic women with and without both eating disorders and depression will
be randomly assigned to placebo or naltrexone treatment. Each group will receive behavioral
therapy for 12 weeks, with followup 6 months after treatment.
Background: Despite important gender differences in drinking patterns, physiological effects
of alcohol, and co-occurring psychiatric conditions, relatively little is known about the
efficacy of naltrexone for the treatment of alcohol dependence in women. This study
investigated the safety and efficacy of naltrexone in combination with Cognitive Behavioral
Coping Skills Therapy (CBCST) in a sample of alcohol-dependent women, some with comorbid
Methods: One hundred three women meeting DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence (29 with
comorbid eating disturbances) were randomized to receive either naltrexone or placebo for 12
weeks in addition to weekly group CBCST.
- Meets criteria for alcohol dependence. Abstinent from alcohol for a period of at
least 5 days.
- Able to read English and complete study evaluations.
- A stable residence and a telephone to ensure that subjects can be located during the
- Meets criteria for dependence on another psychoactive substance besides alcohol or
- Regular use of psychoactive drugs except antidepressants.
- Current use of disulfiram (Antabuse).
- Psychotic or otherwise severely psychiatrically disabled.
- Significant underlying medical conditions such as cerebral, renal, thyroid, or
- Abstinent longer than 30 days prior to admission to program.
- Hepatocellular disease or elevated bilirubin levels.
- Individuals with present history of opiate abuse or who require the use of opioid
- Women who are pregnant, nursing, or not using a reliable method of birth control.
- Women who are significantly overweight or significantly underweight.