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A New Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Dependence: Olanzapine

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Kent Hutchison, Ph.D., The Mind Research Network Identifier:
First received: September 2, 2008
Last updated: January 30, 2014
Last verified: January 2014
Craving for alcohol has been related to loss of control drinking and is a major target of biological and behavioral interventions for alcohol dependence. Our previous research has demonstrated that olanzapine (a dopamine antagonist) attenuates craving for alcohol, that a variant in the gene that expresses D4 receptors influences craving for alcohol, and that olanzapine is particularly effective at reducing craving among individuals with this variant. Pilot data from a recent 12 week trial of olanzapine indicates that olanzapine is well tolerated and that olanzapine reduces drinking, particularly among individuals with the aforementioned genetic variant. The objective of the present application is to examine the effectiveness of olanzapine (5 mg/day), as compared to olanzapine (2.5 mg/day) and a placebo control, in terms of reducing craving and alcohol use behavior among treatment seeking alcoholics. Furthermore, the present application will examine whether the effects of olanzapine on drinking outcomes are mediated by its effects on a specific putative mechanism (i.e., cue-elicited craving for alcohol) and determine whether the DRD4 VNTR polymorphism is a marker for the effectiveness of olanzapine. To that end, 202 alcohol dependent subjects will be randomly assigned to medication group and receive 12 weeks of medication. Subjects will complete follow-up assessments at 3 and 6 months after the end of the treatment. It is expected that olanzapine will significantly reduce cue-elicited craving and alcohol use behavior in a dose dependent fashion over the course of the 12 week trial and follow-up period, as compared to the placebo condition. Furthermore, it is expected that the effects of olanzapine on alcohol use behavior will be mediated by the effect of olanzapine on cue-elicited craving and that the effects of olanzapine on cue-elicited craving and alcohol use behavior will be moderated by the DRD4 VNTR, such that olanzapine will be more effective among individuals with the 7 repeat allele. The successful completion of the proposed research is expected to advance a new medication for alcohol dependence and advance genetic markers that predict the effectiveness of this medication.

Condition Intervention Phase
Alcohol Dependence
Drug: 2.5 mg Olanzapine
Drug: 5mg Olanzapine
Drug: placebo
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A New Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Dependence: Olanzapine

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by The Mind Research Network:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Drinks Per Drinking Day [ Time Frame: up to 36 weeks ]
    Drinks are measured as the number of standard alcoholic beverages consumed each day, assessed in varying lengths of time (i.e., 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, etc.). A standard alcoholic beverage is equivalent to: 1, 12 oz. regular beer; 1, 5 oz. glass of wine; 1, mixed drink with one1.5 oz shot; or 1, 1.5 oz shot. A drinking day is measured as any day of the week in which an alcoholic beverage is consumed. Data for drinks per drinking day is gathered using the "Time Line Follow Back" method in which participants are asked to recall their alcohol consumption day by day for a pre-defined set of time.

Enrollment: 304
Study Start Date: September 2002
Study Completion Date: September 2011
Primary Completion Date: May 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 2.5 mg Olanzapine

2.5 mg Olanzapine

1x per day for 12 weeks.

Drug: 2.5 mg Olanzapine
2.5 mg
Active Comparator: 5mg Olanzapine

5 mg Olanzapine

1x per day for 12 weeks.

Drug: 5mg Olanzapine
5 mg
Placebo Comparator: Placebo


1x per day for 12 weeks.

Drug: placebo

  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 55 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • 21-55 years of age with
  • Alcohol Dependence

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Medical Contraindications
  Contacts and Locations
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, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00746785

United States, New Mexico
The Mind Research Network
Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States, 87131
Sponsors and Collaborators
The Mind Research Network
Principal Investigator: Kent E Hutchison, Ph.D. The Mind Research Network
  More Information

Responsible Party: Kent Hutchison, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, The Mind Research Network Identifier: NCT00746785     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 5R01AA014886 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: September 2, 2008
Results First Received: November 15, 2013
Last Updated: January 30, 2014

Keywords provided by The Mind Research Network:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Alcohol-Related Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders
Autonomic Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Gastrointestinal Agents
Antipsychotic Agents
Tranquilizing Agents
Central Nervous System Depressants
Psychotropic Drugs
Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
Neurotransmitter Uptake Inhibitors
Membrane Transport Modulators
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Serotonin Agents processed this record on April 28, 2017