Groundbreaking National Alcoholism Study at Yale Seeks Participants

Yale is one of 11 universities across the country participating in the first national study to determine the most effective current treatments for alcoholism by evaluating various combinations of counseling and medications.

The Combining Medications and Behavioral Interventions (COMBINE) study was launched by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, in January, 2001. It is the first national study to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioral treatments alone and in combination with medications.

“COMBINE will explore whether treatment effectiveness is improved by pairing a medication that reduces the risk of any drinking with one that reduces the risk of heavy drinking,” said Stephanie O’Malley, professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and principal investigator at the Yale COMBINE site. “We are optimistic because the study begins at a time when advances in genetics, neuroscience and treatment research are paving the way for new alcoholism treatment.”

Over four percent of American adults (about 8 million people) are diagnosed with alcoholism and about 13 percent experience the disease at some time during their lives. The disease is characterized by impaired control over drinking, tolerance (increased drinking to achieve a desired effect), physical dependence and often, severe craving following sustained abstinence.

Researchers at the Yale site are recruiting 125 adults for the study. Participants will be screened for alcoholism, and those who meet study criteria will receive either counseling or a combination of counseling and one or more medications or a placebo. The behavioral therapies and medications being tested in COMBINE are expected to complement and possibly enhance one another.

For more information on participating in the study at the Yale site, please call 203-789-6988 or toll free 888-311-9253.

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