Alcohol Abuse: More Could Benefit from Meds
Most people have heard of 12-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), to treat alcohol addiction, but, according to public health officials, not enough know about two often-overlooked medications that also may be helpful. Millions of Americans abuse alcohol and some of these people could benefit from medication therapy.
Two drugs are approved and on the market to treat alcohol addiction and dependence—naltrexone and acamprosate. In 2015, a federal study showed that only about 20 percent of people who abuse alcohol receive treatment. According to researchers, medication therapy is underused, even though the drugs have been shown to be safe and effective.
Many health care providers hesitate to prescribe medication to treat alcohol addiction. Both naltrexone and acamprosate were plagued by marketing problems in the past, and misunderstanding persists about using the drugs for alcoholism.
Image Credit: Thinkstock