Challenges to medications development in treating alcohol dependence: An international perspective

John M. Littleton, Philippe De Witte, Raye Litten, Gian Luigi Gessa, Rainer Spanagel, Henry Kranzler, Philippe Lehert, Bankole Johnson, John Saunders, Mats Berglund, Adron Harris, Raymond Anton, Karl Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Few medications for treating alcohol dependence exist. Greater partnership is needed between academia and the pharmaceutical industry to develop, licence and market efficacious medications for treating alcohol dependence. Methodologies that span the divide between preclinical and large-scale clinical studies need to be developed in order to provide sufficient information on safety, toleration, drug-interaction profile and efficacy, with which to guide development decisions. Due to the heterogeneous nature of alcohol dependence, the effort of developing an efficacious medication is likely to be enhanced by clearer choices about the characteristics of the population. Careful consideration of potential mechanism of action of the putative therapeutic medication should enable the appropriate choice of drinking endpoint. The pharmaceutical industry in collaboration with academia might need to develop new approaches to determining appropriate treatment endpoints with regulatory bodies. The investment risk to industry should be appraised not only in terms of the rather poor results of previous marketing efforts but with a view to the opportunity to penetrate a potentially enormous and largely untapped market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-275
Number of pages5
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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