Naltrexone can even harness your drinking habits to help retrain your brain. It all depends on which medication you choose, and what your goals are. Additionally, NAC reduced ethanol-seeking and self-administration in rodents [215, 216]. NAC and aspirin co-administration also reduced ethanol intake and relapse binge drinking in ethanol-preferring rats [221].

Usually this means meeting their drinking goals, as evidenced by improved breathalyzer readings as well as quality-of-life indicators, such as sleep, energy, weight, concentration, better relationships, etc. None of these medications can block the effects of detox completely, and none should be taken without supervision. Alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, and even fatal in some extreme cases. If you experience any physical addiction symptoms, talk to a doctor, and don’t go it alone.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)

Clinically, ondansetron may be particularly effective in combination with naltrexone. In an 8-week RCT in 20 participants with early-onset AUD, ondansetron and naltrexone (in comparison with placebo) significantly reduced drinks per drinking day and trended towards an increase in percentage of days abstinent [170]. Another combination study in 90 participants after 7 days on ondansetron and naltrexone found that the combination decreased craving sober house for alcohol and ventral striatal activation to alcohol cues [171]. SMO craving and abuse potential may limit its use; however, at therapeutic doses, SMO abuse seems to be a relatively infrequent phenomenon among patients without psychiatric comorbidities or poly-drug use [96, 100, 105]. Safety data show that serious adverse events with SMO treatment are rare, with the most common adverse effects being transitory dizziness and vertigo [96].

Ultimately, choosing to get treatment may be more important than the approach used, as long as the approach avoids heavy confrontation and incorporates empathy, motivational support, and a focus on changing drinking behavior. If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if AUD is present. For an online assessment of your drinking pattern, go to

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As a result, some people stop feeling like they need alcohol when they take the medication. While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease. Other supplements such as L-glutamine and milk thistle are thought to decrease cravings and aid in detoxifying the liver, respectively. There is some evidence that milk thistle aids in the regeneration of liver cells. However, these supplements have not been thoroughly substantiated with scientific research to confirm the efficacy of their actions and benefits. Nonetheless, they are safe to take and may help to alleviate some symptoms of withdrawal and cravings.

However, even these efforts may be overly simplistic given the complex nature of AUD. It is likely that personalized treatment approaches will need to account for multiple factors to truly tailor treatments to individual patients [294]. Conversely, the public health significance of the improved efficacy of AUD pharmacotherapy with clinically accessible phenotypes argue for wider dissemination and implementation of precision treatment recommendations identified to date.

Advice For Friends and Family Members

Approximately 20%–25% of current smokers are estimated to also be heavy drinkers [145]. A human laboratory study with 20 heavy-drinking smokers on varenicline for 7 days found that varenicline significantly reduced the number of drinks consumed and increased the likelihood of complete abstinence in the human laboratory paradigm [146]. Another anti-convulsant medication, gabapentin, is also suggested by the APA for use in AUD treatment with the goal of reducing alcohol consumption or achieving abstinence [107]. It is thought to modulate GABA activity by indirectly interacting with voltage-gated calcium channels [122].

medications to treat alcoholism

Seek out friends, family members, and healthcare professionals who help you stay on your new path. Part of recovering from alcohol use disorder is changing old behaviors and routines. Some people may not provide the support you need to reach your goals. If you use this form of naltrexone, a healthcare professional will inject the medication once a month. This is a good option for anyone who has difficulty regularly taking the pill. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Data sources include IBM Watson Micromedex (updated 3 July 2023), Cerner Multum™ (updated 10 July 2023), ASHP (updated 10 July 2023) and others. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Can you treat an alcoholic?

Does Treatment Work? The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with AUD can benefit from some form of treatment. Research shows that about one-third of people who are treated for alcohol problems have no further symptoms 1 year later.