A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

New drugs to treat alcohol addiction not quick solutions

Since addiction has become recognized as an illness, there has been a quest to have more traditional medication treatment alternatives. Two new medicines to help individuals with alcohol dependence, Campral and Vivitrol, have been introduced in the past five years. We’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks surrounding these two medications.

Patients need to understand when using these medications that the medicine can be a benefit, but it is not a miracle cure. The patient who has a full appreciation of the medicine’s limitations and also a desire to seek treatment will experience the most success.

Campral

In 2004, the FDA approved a this medicine for the maintenance of abstinence in patients with alcohol dependence. Campral (acamprosate calcium) was the first new medicine in almost a decade for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

Research has shown that individuals who abuse alcohol for a long period of time can upset the balance of chemicals in their brains. Campral was introduced to help restore the chemical balance that has been disrupted by long-term excessive drinking. Campral works by targeting an individual’s craving to drink alcohol. The medicine’s best outcome is to help the individual abstain from and stop thinking about the need for alcohol.

Campral is an oral medication. Once an individual begins taking Campral, it usually takes about five days for it to reach effective levels in the body. To be most effective, the individual needs to take Campral for at least six months to a year while he is in treatment for the addiction.

Drawbacks to this medicine include its cost — which can be expensive — and the fact that individuals need to be responsible for taking the medicine three times a day as prescribed. Campral is safe to take with other prescription medications, including those for anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.

My experience has matched what the company has proposed — that Campral is effective for people who are motivated, committed to alcohol abstinence and involved in other treatment programs and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Campral is not helpful for people who use it as a stand-alone treatment. Often people are looking for an easier, softer treatment and they think Campral is the answer.

Vivitrol

In April 2006, Vivitrol became the first injectable drug available to treat alcohol dependence. The FDA approved Vivitrol for individuals in active treatment who have not had a drink for at least one week.

Since 1984 the oral version of this medication, naltrexone, has been available, and in 2006 the injectable version was developed to make it easier for people recovering from alcohol dependence to use it more consistently.

Vivitrol is a once-a-month injection that is similar to Campral in that its goal is to reduce an individual’s cravings for alcohol and to encourage abstinence.

Vivitrol is an opiate receptor antagonist medicine. It blocks the effect of the brain’s natural opiatelike chemicals, which have a large number of normal functions in the brain that cause pleasurable experiences.

By reducing the pleasurable feeling an individual experiences while drinking, Vivitrol’s goal is to help individuals consume less alcohol and not have the desire to binge drink.

One drawback to Vivitrol is the cost. One injection’s cost can be very expensive and often requires a co-pay, if the individual has insurance. For those without insurance, this medicine can be cost-prohibitive. It is recommended that the individual receive a monthly shot for a period of six months to a year to achieve the best results. If the individual cannot afford Vivitrol, Naltrexone, a once-a-day oral version of Vivitrol, is available at a lower cost.

With active ongoing alcohol dependence treatment, Campral and Vivitrol can be effective medications to help an individual in recovery.

The individual needs to remember that she cannot just take the medication and see the same results as she would if she were getting both treatment and medication.

The individual has to have a lifelong commitment to abstinence from alcohol.

There is a wide variety of alcohol dependence recovery programs available to individuals in need of treatment.

If you know someone or if you are struggling with alcohol dependence, please seek the help of a professional.

James Macke, M.D., is a certified addictionologist for Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare Inc. and Mulberry Center Inc.

source: Evansville Courier and Press

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Study blames alcohol for half 1990s Russian deaths

A new study by an international team of public health researchers documents the devastating impact of alcohol abuse on Russia — showing that drinking caused more than half of deaths among Russians aged 15 to 54 in the turbulent era following the Soviet collapse. The 52 percent figure compares to estimates that less than 4….

Continue reading

‘They saved my life’ from alcohol abuse

A few years ago, Susan Banoski didn’t care if she lived or died. A homemaker married to her husband for 30 years, Mrs. Banoski’s life was forever changed when he died four years ago. Distraught by her husband’s death, she went into a downward spiral. “I started using drugs and alcohol,” the 57-year-old said. Reeling….

Continue reading

Public talk on alcohol abuse

New Zealand needs to address its serious alcohol problem, says an Otago University professor who is holding a public meeting on the Shore. Doug Sellman, a professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine, says at least 700,000 Kiwis are heavy drinkers. “New  Zealand is paying a heavy price through deaths, injuries, chronic diseases, police apprehensions and overburdened emergency departments,….

Continue reading

To help, or at least do no harm

Canada’s Health Minister urgently needs an education in harm reduction. Announcing his intention to shut down Insite, the supervised injection facility serving drug addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Tony Clement told the House of Commons health committee that “supervised injection is not medicine; it does not heal the person addicted to drugs.” Mr. Clement got….

Continue reading

Law aims for youth drinking, hits everyone

In the most tragic way possible, the December alcohol-poisoning death of Foothill High School student Shelby Lyn Allen fostered intense local discussion of underage drinking and its consequences. And on Tuesday, in a move they argue would prevent another such senseless death, advocates will ask the Shasta County Board of Supervisors to pass a “Social….

Continue reading