Alcohol use disorders are common and have a strong genetic component; however, less than a third of patients receive any treatment. FDA-approved medications with proven efficacy are available but less than 10% of patients are treated with them. As addiction develops, brain circuits change and treatment should address these
Three available medications are Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram. Naltrexone reduces heavy drinking and craving, and may improve abstinence from alcohol. Acamprosate helps maintain abstinence in patients who have already stopped drinking. These are usually tried before Disulfiram because of their better safety profiles. Disulfiram interacts with alcohol to cause an unpleasant reaction that causes an aversion to drinking.
The earlier these medications are considered the better, because treatment is most effective early in the course of the disease. For additional information about this topic, contact the staff at Providers For Healthy Living.
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