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Raabe, Florian J.; Wagner, Elias; Weiser, Judith; Brechtel, Sarah; Popovic, David; Adorjan, Kristina; Pogarell, Oliver; Hoch, Eva; Koller, Gabriele (2020): Classical blood biomarkers identify patients with higher risk for relapse 6 months after alcohol withdrawal treatment. In: European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience, Vol. 271: pp. 891-902
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This naturalistic study among patients with alcohol dependence examined whether routine blood biomarkers could help to identify patients with high risk for relapse after withdrawal treatment. In a longitudinal study with 6-month follow-up among 133 patients with alcohol dependence who received inpatient alcohol withdrawal treatment, we investigated the usefulness of routine blood biomarkers and clinical and sociodemographic factors for potential outcome prediction and risk stratification. Baseline routine blood biomarkers (gamma-glutamyl transferase GGT, alanine aminotransferase ALT/GPT, aspartate aminotransferase AST/GOT, mean cell volume of erythrocytes MCV), and clinical and sociodemographic characteristics were recorded at admission. Standardized 6~months' follow-up assessed outcome variables continuous abstinence, days of continuous abstinence, daily alcohol consumption and current abstinence. The combined threshold criterion of an AST:ALT ratio > 1.00 and MCV > 90.0 fl helped to identify high-risk patients. They had lower abstinence rates (P = 0.001), higher rates of daily alcohol consumption (P < 0.001) and shorter periods of continuous abstinence (P = 0.027) compared with low-risk patients who did not meet the threshold criterion. Regression analysis confirmed our hypothesis that the combination criterion is an individual baseline variable that significantly predicted parts of the respective outcome variances. Routinely assessed indirect alcohol biomarkers help to identify patients with high risk for relapse after alcohol withdrawal treatment. Clinical decision algorithms to identify patients with high risk for relapse after alcohol withdrawal treatment could include classical blood biomarkers in addition to clinical and sociodemographic items.