Can This Drug Help Fight Alcoholism?

mainPhotographed by Maria del Rio
Refusing that second (or third) glass of wine is a lot easier said than done after logging in a long week, and sometimes all you can think of doing is uncorking the Pinot. But, for individuals seriously struggling with alcoholism, that pour could be deathly. Now, according to NPR, doctors are working toward a way to help people fight alcoholism with a pill that minimizes the urge to consume booze.
The aforementioned remedy, a drug dubbed gabapentin, is typically used in patients with epilepsy and fibromyalgia, but contains components that were proven to reduce alcohol intake. In a study conducted over 12 weeks by Scripps Research Institute, out of 150 people who participated, the ones who took the drug refrained from heavy drinking twice as often versus the people who took the placebo.
Why is that? Well, the psychiatrist who led the study credits it to the ease of the withdrawal symptoms. So, perhaps this will help for long-term recovery since alcoholics won't drink in excess given the absence of withdrawals like agitation and anxiety, which the article cites as driving forces for regression. While the FDA hasn’t approved gabapentin for aiding alcoholism, it's definitely bringing awareness to this particular function of the drug. And, even though some critics might argue that the lack of evidence and the side effects need to be further explored, we think it's a step in the right direction. (NPR)

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