Olivier Ameisen

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Olivier Ameisen (June 25, 1953 – July 18, 2013) was a French-American cardiologist.[1] He was appointed visiting professor of medicine at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in 2008 based on his work on the mechanisms and treatment of addiction. He had been professor of medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and an attending physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital for fifteen years, when he opened a cardiology practice in Manhattan in 1994.[2]


Ameisen graduated in 1969 from Université René Descartes (Paris V) Faculté de Médecine Cochin Port-Royal.[3]


After hearing anecdotal reports that the muscle relaxant baclofen was, like naltrexone, acamprosate and topiramate, modestly effective at reducing the cravings of addictions, he experimented on himself, and proposed a new treatment model for addiction that is evidence-based. He first postulated that unlike other diseases for which suppression of symptoms is not associated with improvement of prognosis (such as: bacterial pneumonia, relief of unstable angina with medical means without surgery etc...), in addiction, suppression of symptoms (craving, preoccupation, thoughts etc...) should suppress the disease altogether since addiction is, as he observed, a "symptom-driven disease". Of all "anticraving medications used in animals, only one - baclofen - has the unique property of suppressing the motivation to consume cocaine, heroin, alcohol, nicotine and d-amphetamine. The effect is dose-dependent.[4]

Since complete suppression of dependence using a medication had never been described in the medical literature, Ameisen wrote up his own case report and the peer reviewed Journal Alcohol and Alcoholism published it on December 13, 2004, after praising the paper. In his paper, like in those that followed in JAMA, Lancet, CNS Drugs etc., Ameisen urged for randomized trials to test suppression of alcohol dependence using high-dose baclofen.[5]

In 2008 Ameisen wrote a best-selling book, The End Of My Addiction, published in France as Le Dernier Verre (The Last Glass), describing his experience.[6]

In 2007 an Italian team also showed the effectiveness and the safety of Baclofen as a treatment for alcohol-addiction[7]


Ameisen died of a myocardial infarction on July 18, 2013.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Olivier Ameisen, l'apôtre du Baclofène, est mort". Lemonde.fr. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  2. ^ Russell Goldman (14 January 2009), Doctor Claims Cure for Alcoholism in a Pill, ABC News 
  3. ^ CV in French
  4. ^ Ameisen O (August 2005). "Naltrexone treatment for alcohol dependency". JAMA 294 (8): 899–900. doi:10.1001/jama.294.8.899-b. PMID 16118379. 
  5. ^ Ameisen O (2005). "Complete and prolonged suppression of symptoms and consequences of alcohol-dependence using high-dose baclofen: a self-case report of a physician". Alcohol and Alcoholism 40 (2): 147–50. doi:10.1093/alcalc/agh130. PMID 15596425. 
  6. ^ Hugh Schofield (6 Dec 2008), "France abuzz over alcoholic 'cure'", BBC News 
  7. ^ Addolorato G, Leggio L, Ferrulli A, et al. (December 2007). "Effectiveness and safety of baclofen for maintenance of alcohol abstinence in alcohol-dependent patients with liver cirrhosis: randomised, double-blind controlled study". Lancet 370 (9603): 1915–22. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61814-5. PMID 18068515. 

7. "The One-Step Program" by Nate Penn: GQ (USA), March 2010 http://www.gq.com/news-politics/mens-lives/201003/one-step-program

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