FDA Approved Medications for Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Abuse | Lakehouse Recovery Center

Because addiction is an illness that has affected millions of people around the world, there are a number of medications and other tools to assist with sobriety and recovery. For alcohol abuse, in particular, there are three drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and have helped men and women stay sober.

These Three Medications can Support Your Sobriety.

Disulfiram

A nickname for this medication is anti-alcohol or Antabuse. It was developed in 1951 to help men and women who want to quit drinking but can’t. With this prescription and when under a physician’s care, some have found that it’s possible to put their drinking to an end. What makes this medication so effective is that it takes a significant amount of time before the drug wears off.

For instance, if you start taking Antabuse and cravings prompt you to quit in order drink again, the after-effects of Antabuse will make you sick. It takes up to two weeks before the effects of Antabuse wears off. A person will not be able to drink one day, decide to take Antabuse, and then quit to drink again.

During that two week interim, a person will get sick whenever he or she drinks. The benefit of this is that there is plenty of time to think through the decisions one makes and get outside help.

Naltrexone

This drug blocks opioid receptors that are involved in the rewarding effects of craving and drinking alcohol. This medication is not only used in the management of alcohol dependence, but it is also prescribed for those who are dependent on opioids (such as heroin or pain prescription drugs).

To be clear, this drug is not necessarily prescribed when a person is already in recovery. Instead, it is often prescribed to someone who is dependent upon alcohol and who is drinking excessively. This medication has proven to be effective in decreasing the amount of alcohol a person consumes. It has not yet shown to be effective in bringing out zero consumption of alcohol.

Acamprosate

This drug is more commonly known as Campral. It is used to keep someone from drinking. This drug stabilizes the chemicals in the brain that are disrupted with alcohol withdrawal. This can allow a person to go through withdrawal and detox of alcohol without the intense symptoms.

This medication has side effects of its own, including insomnia, irregular heartbeats, and allergic reactions.

If you are struggling with alcohol abuse, you might ask your doctor about the following medications. They may be able to decrease your drinking as well as support your sobriety. However, these medications alone are not enough to end an addiction. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider for more information.

 

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