Anonymous Alcoholic Bankrolls Trial of Controversial Therapy

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Science  06 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6030, pp. 653
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6030.653

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Increasing numbers of alcoholics have been demanding that their doctors give them prescriptions for baclofen, a decades-old muscle relaxant that mimics the action of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid in the brain, to treat their addiction. But hard evidence for its efficacy has been lacking; a handful of trials have generated conflicting evidence. Now an anonymous Dutch donor has given the University of Amsterdam a half-million euros to conduct a rigorous placebo-controlled study of the drug.