Anti-Alcohol Drugs: What Are They And Are These Drugs Helpful?
Alcoholism, mostly referred to as alcohol use disorder (AUD), can present with critical conditions and severe withdrawal symptoms, so specific methods of treatment may be ineffective without the use of medicine. Many are unaware that there are medications for alcoholism, and for this reason, thousands of people are battling with the effects of alcohol addiction. Medications for alcoholism are seemingly effective and have been used for decades.
Why use med for alcoholism? Alcohol abuse and addiction usually has a deteriorating effect on the central nervous system coupled with a heightened craving for alcohol, which causes noticeable withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, seizures, tremors, nausea, insomnia, and other life-threatening complications such as hallucinations and Delirium tremens. Medication for alcoholism helps to curb these side effects.
What are Drugs for Alcohol Abuse?
Some prescription medications that are approved for the treatment of alcohol use disorder include:
- Medications that are often used for alcohol dependency include:
- Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Zofran (off label)
- Ondansetron (off label)
- Zofran ODT (off label)
There are three main medications to treat alcoholism; Naltrexone, Disulfiram, and Acamprosate. These medications work in different ways and are approved by the Food and Drugs Administration for alcohol addiction treatment. Drugs for alcohol abuse are best combined with behavioral therapy for effective results.
Withdrawal and Detox Medicines
Preventing withdrawal symptoms is still a scientific mystery as no medication has been confirmed to avert the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome; instead, there are medications that treat the individual symptoms of withdrawal. The only known to stop alcohol withdrawal from occurring is to indulge in drinking; however, there are some medications that have proved instrumental to countering symptoms and providing relief.
Benzodiazepines are psychoactive medications that are mostly used as a treatment for spasm, anxiety, seizure, insomnia, and epilepsy. Benzos are also effective for treating critical symptoms such as delirium tremens and hallucinations. Benzodiazepines include:
- Xanax (Alprazolam)
- Klonopin (clonazepam)
These classes of medications are anti-seizures which can be used for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These drugs also function as alternatives to benzodiazepines. They include; Depakene (Valproic acid), and Tegretol (carbamazine).
These medications are majorly used as heart stimulants to boost blood pressure. They are usually administered in the treatment of minor withdrawal symptoms. The medicines include precede (Dexmedetomidine), and Catapres (Clonidine).
Drugs to Reduce Cravings
Most medications administered to control alcohol use disorder function by reducing cravings. These medications work in various ways.
Naltrexone is an effective medication to stop drinking, with two forms; oral and injection. During addiction, the brain creates urges to indulge in drinking. Naltrexone works by hindering the pleasurable effect of alcohol, making it easier to quit. The pill forms of Naltrexone are taken on a daily basis while the injection is administered monthly. Naltrexone, as a drug for alcoholism, is mostly used for patients who have shown promise in quitting alcohol on their own.
Alcohol addiction has a serious effect on the central nervous system; it disrupts the chemical balance in the brain. Acamprosate, as a medication for alcohol cravings, helps to regulate the brain chemistry and to alleviate cravings. A doctor may recommend this medication when the patient has overcome the withdrawal phase.
Even though the FDA is yet to approve Topiramate as a medication for alcoholics, the drug is often administered to patients for its effectiveness. The drug may reduce alcohol cravings even while the individual is still drinking. The drug is safe and legal as medicine for alcohol addiction.
Another fairly new medicine for alcoholism is gabapentin. The medication, like Topiramate, is approved for the treatment of seizures and often prescribed “off label” for alcohol addiction.
Disulfiram is one of the first generation alcoholism medication used to counter the addiction. The drug changes the metabolism of alcohol in the body to create a nauseating feeling when one drinks alcohol. Disulfiram helps to reduce the intake of alcohol by causing a sick feeling when one indulges.
Choosing an Anti-Abuse Medication
There are a lot of effective medications that can serve as medications for alcohol abuse; however, their effects may be relative. Medications such as Disulfiram may be problematic and present with health issues for some individuals but very useful for others. The first line of action is to consult a medical doctor for a proper checkup; medications should only be prescribed by a doctor.