Pharmacological enhancing agents targeting cognition in patients with alcohol-induced neurocognitive disorders: A systematic review

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Abstract

Debilitating neurocognitive deficits are seen in alcohol use disorders (AUD) and Wernicke-Korsakoff's syndrome (WKS). These shared characteristics suggest a spectrum of alcohol-induced neurocognitive disorders (AIND). Cognitive pharmacological enhancing agents (CPEA) have been examined in the treatment of other psychiatric disorders, but little is known about the effects of these agents on AINDs. Our aim was to synthesize the evidence for the effectiveness of CPEAs on AINDs. Databases were searched for controlled trials examining CPEAs on AUD, WKS, and alcohol-related dementia (ARD). Eligible studies were included in a qualitative synthesis and a quality assessment was conducted. The search identified 23 studies (4 ≤ ns ≤ 98). Evidence suggests that modafinil may improve executive functions in AUD and ARD, but this effect may only be present in patients with severe deficits. The studies were rated as having a moderate risk of bias. Despite the promising effects of modafinil, small samples and inconsistent evidence deem the results preliminary. More research is warranted examining the effects of transdiagnostic CPEAs on deficits across AINDs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience and biobehavioral reviews
Volume125
Pages (from-to)608-626
ISSN0149-7634
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Alcohol amnestic disorder
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Alcohol related dementia
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Alcoholic organic brain syndrome
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Cognitive enhancers
  • Korsakoff psychosis
  • Neurocognition
  • Non-affective cognition
  • Nootropics
  • Pharmacotherapy

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