Anti-Alcoholism Drugs Exist, but We're Not Using Them
Many doctors don't know about them: experts
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 14, 2014 10:04 AM CDT
A pair of drugs could offer help to alcoholics, yet they're rarely used.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Two medications could offer an effective weapon against alcoholism, and they've been approved for years. But many doctors aren't familiar with naltrexone and acamprosate, which could benefit tens of thousands of alcoholics, a study finds. The drugs are "not blockbuster. They’re not going to work for everybody. But they can make a difference for a lot of people," the lead author of the study tells the New York Times. Only a third of alcoholics are treated for the condition, and the researchers find that only a third of those treated have medications prescribed, CNN notes.

Researchers reviewed data on 23,000 subjects dating back decades. They examined the drugs' "number needed to treat"—in other words, the number of people who'd have to be on the drug in order to benefit one patient, in this case by preventing future drinking. Among popular medications like statins, which fight cholesterol, between 25 and 100 people must be taking the drugs to avoid one cardiovascular event. Naltrexone's number needed to treat is 20, while acamprosate's is just 12. But "many primary care physicians just don’t know about this," says an expert.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Ezekiel 25:17
May 19, 2014 4:30 PM CDT
I was taking Previstatin until last moth. It was removed from my formulary list on my insurance. It went from $5 per script to $60. So I just decided on my own to stop. I had already replaced it with 100mg aspirin, niacin, garlic, and hawtorn berries. Haven't told the doc yet. I'll just wait until script refill time and not request he refill that one. I like manipulating docs that way. On the last switch of doctors, I made a switch of scripts on my own by just telling the new doc different meds I had researched. It worked for me as I'm my own best doctor anyway. As for anti-alcoholism drugs, why can't they just put a small amount of the stuff they supposedly put in mouth wash that makes you gag if you drink it like liquor?
QuestionAll
May 16, 2014 9:26 AM CDT
Many years ago a fellow service member was given the choice, either stop drinking or be discharged from the service. He entered an alcholic recovery program and was given a drug called antibuse (sic). While taking this drug, if he had any form aclohol, he would become very ill. What ever happened to that drug and do they still use it? It worked for him and he was able to retire from the military.
Edward Zingraff
May 16, 2014 1:27 AM CDT
They can bite our dick! If you know anyone connected to the drug industry, feel free to punch them in the face and kick them in the ass. You can't fix "alcoholism" with brain-crimping placebos but you can make a shitload of money pretending your brain-crimping placebos are effective enough to be legalized and widely prescribed. Again, bite our dick!