Migraine Pill Helps Alcoholics Quit: Study

But 20% drop drug over concentration, tingling side effects
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2007 4:37 AM CDT
Alcoholics had better odds of quitting if they were on Topomax.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – A migraine drug appears to help alcoholics quit drinking without needing detox treatment, researchers have found. In 14 weeks, 15% of participants using the drug Topomax had stopped drinking for seven weeks or more, while others reduced their drinking, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But side effects like tingling, itchiness and inability to concentrate caused 1 in 5 people to drop out of the study.

Topomax works on inhibiting dopamine, a "feel-good" neurotransmitter involved in addictions. A patient in a previous Topomax study reports being sober for two years—even after he stopped taking the drug. "It's been a miracle to me," he said. "It got the monkey off my back."