Is There a Pill That Cures Alcoholism?
There have been numerous news reports about an Alcoholism Pill that cures alcoholics of their dependence on alcohol. Dr. Torrington of Inspire Malibu was recently featured as a medical expert on a KTLA News feature segment in Los Angeles that questioned the subject of a cure in the form of a pill.
While there is no exact pill that can be taken as a cure for alcoholism, there are several medications that can help suppress the cravings of alcoholics and drug addicts, including Naltrexone, Vivitrol, Acamprosate, and Campral.
Medications to Treat Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
There are several medications that can be prescribed by a medical doctor to aid in withdrawal to mimic the effects of an addictive substance or block the pleasure receptors in the brain. While these medications to provide a cure for addiction, they can be effective at treating the addiction or controlling relapse.
Agonist Therapy uses drugs like Methadone or Suboxone to mimic the effects of the abused substance and create the sensation of being under the influence of the drug. Agonist therapy reduces the unpleasant withdrawal and craving associated with abstinence.
Antagonist Therapy uses drugs such as Naltrexone (also intramuscular Vivitrol) to block the receptor in the brain that provides the sensation or feeling of the abused substance.
Antabuse, Acamprosate, Naltrexone, Vivitrol, and others can also be used for relapse therapy and maintenance.
Naltrexone Treatment for Alcoholism and Addiction
Naltrexone is a non-opioid, antagonist medication approved for opioid treatment. In essence, it blocks the opioid receptors in the brain to reduce cravings and aid in relapse prevention by removing the pleasure sensations created by the addictive substance.
Naltrexone can be prescribed by a doctor and should be used in conjunction with a rehab treatment program. While it is most effective for opioid dependence, many clinicians have found it be effective for treating alcohol dependence as well, especially for patients who have recently completed alcohol detox. It works to reduce relapse during the first three months of sobriety.
Vivitrol is an FDA approved, extended release version of Naltrexone that is prescribed and administered by a doctor as an injection. It is non-addictive, and because it is extended release medication, it is injected once a month every four weeks. Unlike Naltrexone, which must be taken orally every day, Vivitrol works every day throughout the month.
While Vivitrol does not produce pleasure sensations or acts an alcohol substitute, it is believed to block the rewards of alcohol.
Acamprosate and Campral
Acamprosate, also known as Campral, is a drug used to treat dependence to alcohol by stabilizing chemical imbalances in the brain of alcoholics.
Acamprosate (Campral) is non-addictive, and was approved by the FDA in 2004. Because it has been in use in Europe since the late 1980s, many of the studies of its efficacy have been done in Europe. The way it works in the brain is not yet fully understood, but it has shown to consistently work better than a placebo in trials for both long and short term intervals.
While there is currently no pill that can cure alcoholism or drug addiction, medications such as Naltrexone, Vivitrol, Acamprosate, and Campral show some promise for treating and reducing the effects of drug and alcohol dependence in the brain.
Call us to find out more about Naltrexone, Acamprosate, Campral, or Vivitrol Treatments for alcoholism and addiction.