A six-month clinical trial to evaluate gabapentin enacarbil (Horizant; XenoPort) as a potential treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) is set to begin in the first half of 2015, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study will assess the safety and efficacy of gabapentin enacarbil in about 350 participants diagnosed with AUD.

Gabapentin is currently approved for various pain and epileptic conditions. A recent study found that alcohol dependent patients using gabapentin were more likely to stop drinking or refrain from heavy drinking compared to those taking placebo.

RELATED: NIH: Gabapentin May Work for Alcohol Dependence

There are three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of alcohol dependence: disulfiram, acamprosate (Campral; Forest), and naltrexone (Revia, Vivitrol). Disulfiram blocks the metabolism of alcohol and causes nausea; acamprosate supports abstinence and eases withdrawal symptoms; and naltrexone helps to reduce heavy drinking.

For more information visit NIH.gov.