Sugar intake and craving during alcohol withdrawal in alcohol use disorder inpatients

Régis Alarcon, Margaux Tiberghien, Raphael Trouillet, Stéphanie Pelletier, Amandine Luquiens, Serge H. Ahmed, Bertrand Nalpas, Stéphanie Alaux‐Cantin, Mickaël Naassila, Pascal Perney
Addiction Biology. 2020-04-19; :
DOI: 10.1111/adb.12907

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Alarcon R(1), Tiberghien M(1), Trouillet R(2), Pelletier S(1), Luquiens A(1)(3), Ahmed SH(4), Nalpas B(1)(5), Alaux-Cantin S(6), Naassila M(6), Perney P(1)(7).

Author information:
(1)Addictions Department, CHU Caremeau, Nîmes, France.
(2)Université Paul Valery-Montpellier 3, Montpellier, France.
(3)Paris-Saclay University, Univ. Paris-Sud, UVSQ, CESP, INSERM, Villejuif, France.
(4)IMN – UMR 5293 – Université de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.
(5)Department of Scientific Information and Communication (DISC), Inserm, Paris, France.
(6)Inserm UMR1247, Groupe de Recherche sur l’Alcool et les Pharmacodépendances
(GRAP), Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Faculté de Pharmacie, Amiens, France.
(7)Inserm U1018, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France.

To assess whether changes in sugar intake and craving occur during alcohol
withdrawal in humans, we conducted a prospective, observational study in a
university hospital addictions treatment center. Recruited patients had severe
alcohol use disorder and were hospitalized for 7 days in the short-stay unit for
alcohol withdrawal and then for 6 weeks in the rehabilitation unit. During the
hospital stay, they had no access to alcohol but had full access to sweet
products and beverages in a shop and vending machines located inside the
hospital. Alcohol craving was assessed using a visual analogue scale on Days 1,
15, and 45. Sugar craving, sweet products stored by patients in their rooms, and
weight were assessed on the same days. Thirty-five patients were included. Sugar
craving increased in 14 patients during the hospital stay, whereas no change was
observed in the remaining 21. Significant increases in both the amounts of sweet
products stored in the patients’ rooms (p < 0.02) and weight (p < 0.05) were
observed only in the sugar craving group. During the same period, alcohol craving
decreased significantly in all patients. Changes in tobacco smoking were not
different according to the sugar craving status and therefore cannot explain the
observed differences. In conclusion, increased intake and craving for sugar after
alcohol withdrawal were observed in 40% of the patients included in our
prospective study, and these results were similar to those of a study conducted
in the alcohol post-dependent state model in rats.

© 2020 Society for the Study of Addiction.


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