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Soyka, M.; Friede, M. and Schnitker, J. (2016): Comparing Nalmefene and Naltrexone in Alcohol Dependence: Are there any Differences?</break> Results from an Indirect Meta-Analysis. In: Pharmacopsychiatry, Vol. 49, No. 2: pp. 66-75

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Background: The mu-opioid antagonist naltrexone is one of the few approved pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Recently, the mu-opioid antagonist and partial kappa agonist nalmefene was approved by the European Medicines Agency for the reduction of alcohol consumption in adult patients with alcohol dependence. To date, no head-to-head studies have compared the efficacy and safety of naltrexone and nalmefene in reducing alcohol consumption. Methods: An indirect meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies on these 2 medications was conducted. A random effects model was used to measure effects and compare the 2 medications. 4 placebo-controlled studies with nalmefene and 13 with naltrexone were included. Results: A statistically significant advantage of nalmefene towards naltrexone in the 2 patient-relevant outcome efficacy criteria, quantity and frequency of drinking, was found. Both drugs had a benign safety profile. Conclusions: This indirect meta-analysis indicates an advantage of nalmefene over naltrexone. Nalmefene is an effective and well-tolerated medication for the reduction of alcohol consumption. Additional data are necessary to demonstrate possible advantages of nalmefene over naltrexone in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

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