Yes. Two different types of medications are commonly used to treat
alcoholism. The first are tranquilizers called benzodiazepines
(e.g., Valium®, Librium®), which are used only during the
first few days of treatment to help patients safely withdraw from alcohol.
A second type of medication is used to help people remain sober. A recently
approved medicine for this purpose is naltrexone
(ReVia TM). When used together with counseling,
this medication lessens the craving for alcohol in many people and helps prevent
a return to heavy drinking.
Another older medication is disulfiram (Antabuse®), which discourages
drinking by causing nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant
physical reactions when alcohol is used. (See also Media Advisory,
Jan. 17, 1995: Naltrexone Approved for
Alcoholism Treatment and "Publication", Alcohol Alert
No. 33: Neuroscience Research and Medications Development.)
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