Medications to Help People Stop Drinking are Rarely Prescribed

The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study and found that two medications that could be used to aid in helping people to stop drinking are underutilized. The drugs, Naltrexone and Acamprosate, have been approved by the FDA and have been shown to reduce alcohol craving by altering the brain’s chemical reward system. On the market for more than 10 years, many doctors are not aware of their effectiveness in treating alcoholism.

This study focuses on a measure known as the “number needed to treat” as an indicator of how many people need to take a pill for one person to be helped. The researchers reviewed data on approximately 23,000 people in 122 studies. The conclusion of the study said that in order to prevent one person from returning to drinking, the number needed to take Acamprosate was 12 and the number needed to take naltrexone was 20.


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