Medications to Stop Drinking


Alcoholism is a disease that can ruin lives. Sometimes the addiction is just too much for an individual to cope with alone, and medication designed to control an alcoholic's cravings is appropriate. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three different medications to treat alcoholism. All three drugs must be taken continuously under a doctor's supervision in order to beat an alcohol addiction. Listen to your doctor's advice and weigh any side effects against the benefits of these particular medications.

How Antabuse Works

Antabuse was the first medication designed to treat alcoholism approved for use by the FDA. The medication works by making the body sick when alcohol is ingested. The resulting nausea makes drinking unappealing to those that couldn’t live without it before. In conjunction with other treatments such as a recovery program like Alcoholic Anonymous, Antabuse can be a harsh deterrent for addicts who previously could not control their cravings.

Antabuse Side Effects, Effectiveness, Dosage

Antabuse's side effects include drowsiness, headache, metallic aftertaste and acne. According to Breakthrough Addiction Recovery, the drug is considered highly effective while the person is taking the drug, but the deterrent effect is not necessarily sustained once an individual stops taking it. The maximum dosage is 500mg.

How Naltrexone Works

Naltrexone has also been approved by the FDA. The drug works in an entirely different manner than Antabuse. Naltrexone is designed to block the euphoric feeling that people receive after drinking alcohol. As a result, many addicts avoid alcohol because the high that they used to feel after drinking has been eliminated.

Naltrexone Side Effects, Effectiveness, Dosage

Naltrexone's side effects include nausea, anxiety, insomnia, dizziness and headache. According to the FDA and Science Daily, the drug is considered effective for helping alcohol dependent patients abstain from alcohol. The suggested dosage is 25mg oral tablets.

How Acamprosate Works

Acamprosate works to reduce and diminish the often uncomfortable feelings that accompany social interaction when an individual abstains from drinking. For many, drinking masks social anxiety or facilitates social interaction. Acamprostate is designed to mitigate any uncomfortable feelings that arise after alcohol has been eliminated from a social situation.

Acamprosate Side Effects, Effectiveness, Dosage

While Acamprosate's side effects do not occur very often, some can be serious. These side effects include suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression and vomiting. According to the FDA, the drug is proven effective for abstaining from alcohol. Acamprosat comes is in 333mg tablets that need to be taken three times daily.

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