COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC:

Get the latest research information from NIH: Menu

Levetiracetam for the Treatment of Alcohol Dependence and Anxiety

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00141115
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : September 1, 2005
Results First Posted : September 15, 2017
Last Update Posted : April 24, 2019
UCB Pharma
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
John Mariani MD, New York State Psychiatric Institute

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to determine if levetiracetam is effective in treating alcohol dependence in patients with anxiety symptoms. The researchers hypothesize that individuals are unable to reduce or discontinue alcohol use because of significant anxiety, mood, and sleep disturbance symptoms that accompany reduction in alcohol use.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Alcoholism Generalized Anxiety Disorder Panic Disorder Social Phobia Anxiety Disorders Drug: levetiracetam Phase 2

Detailed Description:
Alcohol dependence is frequently associated with anxiety disorders. Treatment studies of individuals suffering from both alcohol dependence and anxiety have been limited. Anti-seizure medications have been used for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal for three decades. More recently, anti-seizure medications have been shown to reduce drinking and promote abstinence, and reduce drinking in abstinent alcoholics. Levetiracetam is a newer anti-seizure medication, with a structure different than that of other anti-seizure medications, that is safe and generally well tolerated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved levetiracetam for use with other anti-seizure medications in the treatment of epilepsy in adults. The metabolism of levetiracetam is less complicated than older anti-seizure medications, which makes it easier to use and better tolerated, and it is not likely to interact with other medicines. Levetiracetam has been shown to prevent anxiety during sedative withdrawal, which is similar to alcohol withdrawal, in a laboratory study using mice. Levetiracetam also had anti-anxiety effects in laboratory study using mice. Given that other anti-seizure medications have been shown to be helpful in treating alcohol dependence, that levetiracetam is not likely to have interactions with other medications, and that in animals levetiracetam appeared to be helpful for treating a condition similar to alcohol dependence and anxiety, we believe it should be studied for the treatment of alcohol dependent patients with anxiety disorders.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 3 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Pilot Trial of Levetiracetam in the Treatment of Alcohol Dependence With Comorbid Anxiety
Study Start Date : March 2004
Actual Primary Completion Date : January 2008
Actual Study Completion Date : January 2008

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Levetiracetam
Levetiracetam 1500 mg BID
Drug: levetiracetam
Levetiracetam 1500 mg BID
Other Name: keppra

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Participants Who Reported Reductions in Alcohol Consumption [ Time Frame: over 9 weeks of study or length of participation ]
    Number of participants who reduced drinking during the trial

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Percent of Drinking Days [ Time Frame: assessed daily, reported for baseline 28 days compared to last 28 days of study participation ]
    daily drinking assessed each of study participation, reported percent of drinking days for 28 days prior to study initiation compared to last 28 days of study participation-as reported on the Time line follow back

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Men and women between the ages of 18-65 who meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria for alcohol dependence and a comorbid anxiety disorder, including: panic disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, substance-induced anxiety disorder and anxiety disorder, no otherwise specified (NOS).
  • Individuals capable of giving informed consent and capable of complying with study procedures.
  • Individuals must have clinically significant anxiety.
  • Individuals must have current average alcohol use over past 28 days with > 4 drinking days per week and >4 standard drinks/drinking day for women and > 5 standard drinks/drinking day for men.
  • Women of child-bearing age will be included provided that they are not pregnant, based on the results of a blood pregnancy test done at the time of screening and agree to use a method of contraception with proven efficacy and not to become pregnant during the study. To confirm this, blood pregnancy tests will be repeated monthly. Women will be provided a full explanation of the potential dangers of pregnancy while on the study. If a woman becomes pregnant the study medication will be discontinued.
  • Individual's breathalyzer reading at the time of signing consent must be < 0.04%.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Subjects with any current Axis I psychiatric disorder as defined by DSM-IV-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) supported by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Axis I Disorders, Research Version, Patient Edition (SCID-I/P) that in the investigator's judgment might require pharmacological intervention, with the exceptions of alcohol dependence and a comorbid anxiety disorder (panic disorder, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, substance-induced anxiety disorder and anxiety disorder, NOS). Current diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder are exclusionary.
  • Individuals with evidence of moderate to severe alcohol withdrawal that would require pharmacologic intervention.
  • Individuals meeting DSM IV criteria for current cocaine or opioid dependence.
  • Unstable physical disorders which might make participation hazardous such as uncontrolled hypertension and tachycardia (systolic blood pressure [SBP] > 150 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure [DBP] > 90 mm Hg, or a sitting quietly heart rate [HR] > 100 bpm), acute hepatitis (patients with chronic mildly elevated transaminase levels ((2-3 x upper limit of normal) are acceptable) or poorly controlled diabetes.
  • Patients currently taking prescribed psychotropic medications.
  • Patients with a known sensitivity to levetiracetam.
  • Individuals who have exhibited suicidal or homicidal behavior within the past two years or have current active suicidal ideation.
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Individuals physiologically dependent on any other drugs (excluding nicotine, caffeine).
  • Individuals with a history of a hazardous drinking behavior (e.g., driving while intoxicated convictions, violent crimes committed while intoxicated) will be excluded.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00141115

Layout table for location information
United States, New York
New York State Psychiatric Institute
New York, New York, United States, 10032
Sponsors and Collaborators
New York State Psychiatric Institute
UCB Pharma
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: Frances R Levin, MD New York State Psychiatric Institute
Additional Information:
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: John Mariani MD, research psychiatrist, New York State Psychiatric Institute Identifier: NCT00141115    
Other Study ID Numbers: 4773
First Posted: September 1, 2005    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: September 15, 2017
Last Update Posted: April 24, 2019
Last Verified: April 2019
Keywords provided by John Mariani MD, New York State Psychiatric Institute:
Substance-induced anxiety disorder
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Anxiety Disorders
Panic Disorder
Phobia, Social
Pathologic Processes
Mental Disorders
Alcohol-Related Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Phobic Disorders
Nootropic Agents