Modern medication in alcohol treatment

Modern medications in treatment of alcohol addiction

How much are they effective? Naltrexone was approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of alcohol dependence in 1994. By definition, Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist used both in the management of alcohol and opioid dependence. Naltrexone works very well because it’s neither addictive nor pleasurable. It carries double effect. From one side it certainly eliminates cravings for alcohol, from the other it significantly reduces alcohol’s pleasurable effects. This unique property of Naltrexone helps alcohol addicts break the drinking patterns in which they have been trapped for years.

There are two forms of Naltrexone on pharmaceutical market. Naltrexone is available in tablet form to be taken daily and in form of oil injection to be taken once in a month (Vivitrol) or in form of pellets which are implanted subcutaneously once in 3, 4, 6 and 12 months. It is a medically proven fact that addicts undergoing Naltrexone therapy have been proven to be at significantly less risk of relapse.
Sure, just breaking the drinking patterns doesn’t cure the problem completely. But with a help of Naltrexone support complex competent treatment makes long term success more likely, more reliable, as well as making the process of recovery shorter, more effective, and more cost efficient.

Disulfiram (Antabus)

Disulfiram is a key medication in aversive therapy, directed to create a negative reflex towards alcohol. This is the first medicine approved for the treatment of alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence by the F.D.A. Serving as a physical and psychological deterrent for someone trying to stop drinking it does not reduce the individual’s craving for alcohol, nor does it treat any alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Disulfiram works by blocking the oxidation of alcohol in the body, by interfering with the body’s usual metabolic processing of alcohol it causes many unwanted reactions and unpleasants effects that range from mild to severe, depending on how much Disulfiram and how much alcohol is consumed, along with an individual’s tolerance of the drug. The fear of these reactions is meant to condition the patient to avoid alcohol. These effects include flushing of the face, headache, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, weakness, blurred vision, mental confusion, sweating, choking, breathing difficulty, and anxiety. These effects appear about 15 minutes after alcohol consumption and last for 1 hour or more.

Numerous studies in Europe and USA has shown certain effectiveness of long-term use of Disufiram in alcohol addiction treatment. The longer people take Disulfiram, the more effective it is. Within a time it helps them to develop a habit of not drinking, while they acquire new interests and skills.


Campral is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for alcoholism treatment in July 2004. More than 1.5 million people currently have been treated worldwide with Campral.
It is still not completely understood exactly how Campral works in the brain to help people maintain alcohol abstinence. But it is believed to affect chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced in terms of alcohol addiction. It helps to restore a chemical balance in the brain that is disrupted by long-term or chronic alcohol abuse. In other words, it brings function of the brain back to normal.
Campral doesn’t treat or prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Campral was demonstrated to be safe and effective for alcohol-dependent patients who had already been withdrawn from alcohol. Campral is a drug which is used to significantly reduce cravings for alcohol. It is an anti-craving medication.

All these three medications are the core of anti-alcohol treatment in our drug rehabilitation clinic. Well-balanced therapy in combination with N.E.T. (Neuro Electrical Therapy, indicated to restore imbalance of endogenous endorphins in alcohol addict”s brain) and adequate counseling program provide long -term success in alcohol addiction treatment and further complete recovery.


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