Education and career
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. 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.
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.
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.
In 2007 an Italian team also showed the effectiveness and the safety of baclofen as a treatment for alcohol-addiction.
- "Olivier Ameisen, l'apôtre du Baclofène, est mort". Lemonde.fr. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
- "Baclofène - Olivier Ameisen - traitement alcoolisme - BACLOFENE - Olivier Ameisen". olivierameisen.fr. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
- Russell Goldman (14 January 2009), Doctor Claims Cure for Alcoholism in a Pill, ABC News
- Ameisen O (August 2005). "Naltrexone treatment for alcohol dependency". JAMA. 294 (8): 899–900. doi:10.1001/jama.294.8.899-b. PMID 16118379.
- 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" (PDF). Alcohol and Alcoholism. 40 (2): 147–50. doi:10.1093/alcalc/agh130. PMID 15596425.
- Hugh Schofield (6 Dec 2008), "France abuzz over alcoholic 'cure'", BBC News
- 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.
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