A new study has just been published which suggests that Johnson & Johnson’s

epilepsy drug Topamax (topiramate) could be used as a potential treatment to

promote smoking abstinence among alcohol-dependent smokers.

A 12-week clinical trial compared topiramate versus placebo in 94

cigarette-smoking, alcohol-dependent individuals. It was noted that the 45

topiramate recipients were significantly more likely than those on placebo

to abstain from smoking, with cessation rates for those people on the J&J drug

being 19.4% and 16.7% at weeks 9 and 12, respectively, compared with 6.9% at

both time points for placebo recipients.

The authors of the study acknowledged that a 12-week trial period is

relatively short but “this finding should garner scientific interest because

no medication has been established as an effective treatment for co-morbid

alcohol and nicotine dependence.”

The potential that Topamax shows as a safe and promising medication for

treating this condition is good news for J&J, which just over a year ago

received the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration for the

medicine to be used for the prevention of migraines in adults [[13/08/04]].

However at the end of last year, the firm announced that it was

discontinuing plans to develop a controlled-release version of Topamax for

use in obesity and type-2 diabetes [[02/12/04]].