Baclofen trial in acute liver disease – Liverpool


L. Owens 1, 2,*, A. Rose 3, M. Pirmohamed 1,2, P. Richardson 2

Corresponding author:

Dr. Lynn Owens PhD BA Hons Dip HE Cert Ed RN
Nurse Consultant Alcohol Services & Honorary Research Fellow – The University of Liverpool
Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospital Trust

Department of Hepatology.

5Z Link. Prescott st Liverpool.


Email: lynno

Co-author Institutions:

1Institute of Translational Medicine, University of Liverpool, 2Hepatology, Royal Liverpool University Hospital Trust,3 Department of Psychological Sciences.

There are no conflict of interest declarations for this research

INTRODUCTION: Alcohol induced liver disease is the predominant cause of alcohol-related mortaility in the UK. Therefore abstinence-based treatments are essential. Upto 70% of patients receiving alcohol treatment relapse within 6 months [1] , NICE attribute much of this failure of treatment to underutilisation of pharmacotherapy and recommend this be made available [2]. However, current licensed pharmacotherapies are contraindicated for patients with ALD. Baclofen has shown efficacy in the promotion of abstinence in patients with severe alcohol dependence [3, 4] including those with ALD [5], without exhibiting any of the complications or side effects elicited by current pharmacotherapies. Therefore the primary aim of this study was to measure the effectiveness of Baclofen in maintaining abstinence in this difficult to treat group

Methods: An observational prospective clinical audit was performed. Patients with liver disease and concomitant alcohol use were commenced on Baclofen at 10 mg three times daily (TDS), and titrated according to tolerability and response up to 30 mg TDS. Primary outcome measures were severity of physical dependence, as determined by SADQ score, and weekly alcohol consumption. These were compared at baseline, and 6 months. Setting: Acute Hospital Trust Participants: 149 patients referred to Hepatology for investigation of abnormal liver function and heavy drinking

Results: Of the 149 patients commenced on Baclofen 100 (67.1%) remained engaged in treatment for 6 months. There was a significant reduction in alcohol consumption (P < 0.0001 95% CI for difference 18 to 20) with 81 of the 149 patients (54.3%) maintaining total abstinence, 20 (13.4%) continued to drink and 48 (32.2%) were lost to follow-up and assumed to have returned to drinking. There was a significant reduction in the presence of physical dependence (c2 = 77.4 P < 0.0001) as categorised by SADQ.

CONCLUSION: Baclofen has a positive impact on alcohol consumption in this very difficult to treat, high risk patient group. A RCT is needed to confirm the benefit of baclofen in this patient group.

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1. Raistrick, D. 2006, NTA

2. NICE, Alcohol use disorders: CG115, 2011

3. Addolorato,G. 2012.

4. Muzyk, A. 2012.

5. Leggio, L. 2010.

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