There are three medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in the treatment of alcohol addiction. Of these medications, none can be approved for use by anyone who isn’t sober. This means anyone who is still drinking alcohol.
These medications are for people who are abstinent and want to stay that way. No medications exist that can be prescribed if alcohol is still being drunk regularly. This is because medications and alcohol can’t mix well.
Using medication to combat addiction is highly debated. This is because some people think it is just transferring one addiction for another. When it comes to medicines to treat drug addiction, this is generally true.
Methadone works by blocking highs and withdrawal symptoms from other drugs but is addictive in itself. It has been responsible for quite a few overdoses annually.
The medications used to treat alcohol addiction are generally used differently.
The first medication approved for the treatment of alcohol addiction was Antabuse. It can cause adverse reactions if someone decides to break and drink alcohol. This can help deter people from relapsing. It can also have them form negative associations to drinking.
If people try and drink alcohol after taking Antabuse, they might end up vomiting.
Antabuse used to be prescribed in larger doses. It was meant to give very severe reactions to help people abstain. This led to dangerous side effects or overdoses, so the dosage was changed.
This medication is meant to block the high effects of alcohol on the brain. It also works for opioids like cocaine or heroin in similar ways.
Naltrexone can also decrease alcohol cravings and make drinking alcohol not feel as good. This works best when used with psychosocial therapy That is why it eventually went from treating just opiates to alcohol as well
The FDA approved it to treat alcohol addiction in 1994.
This medication is the one approved most recently for use by the FDA. It can lessen the physical distress and emotional discomfort attributed to quitting alcohol abuse.
Campral was used for more than 20 years across Europe. It was effective and a common treatment for alcohol addiction. It was finally approved for use by the FDA in the United States in July 2004. We were a little behind the times when it came to using this particular drug.