What Medicine Is Available For Alcohol Cravings?

Thursday, December 8, 2022 | By Andrew Bramlett

Antabuse-is-a-medication-for-alcohol-cravings

Know What Medical Options Are Available To Stop Alcohol Cravings

While recovering from addiction is a lifelong journey, and there is no quick trick to getting sober, did you know there happens to be medicine to reduce alcohol cravings? These medicines can be lifesavers for those who are alcoholics, and greatly aid in the recovery process.

 

Although there are other methods that have been used for a longer period of time to help treat alcoholics, such as therapy, group meetings, and rehabilitation, addiction science is still a relatively new discipline. It was just a few years ago that even treatments with the best of intentions saw alcoholism and drug abuse as moral failings, weaknesses, and willpower issues. 

 

We now know that addiction is a disease. A disease that can be treated. One of the methods we have to treat alcohol abuse is medecine. Although these medications are right for some people, for others they are not. How do you know if medication for alcohol abuse might be right for you? And what medications are available? How might you acquire or qualify for this medication? 

 

For the answers to all of these questions and more, read on to see how medication might reduce the cravings for some alcoholics and what options are available. 

What Kind Of Medicine For Alcohol Cravings Is Available For Alcoholics? 

There are three medications that are used in the United States to treat alcoholism and reduce cravings for alcohol. All are approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration: Disulfiram, Naltrexone, and Acamprosate

 

  • Disulfiram— Disulfiram is generally administered as a tablet once a day. While this drug doesn’t reduce cravings per se, in layman’s terms it makes someone sick after drinking alcohol. While taking the medication, if a user drinks alcohol it stops the feelings of euphoria by making the user nauseous and causing other adverse effects. Sometimes these reactions can be severe. This is a drug generally used for the most acute patients because of these risks. A patient needs to be free from alcohol intake for at least 12 hours before taking this drug. Some users also report being able to drink alcohol with impunity even though they are taking the drug.  

 

  • Naltrexone— This medication is administered via an injection once a month, and it is also available as a tablet taken by mouth. This drug attacks cravings themselves by reducing the amount of pleasure a user gets from drinking alcohol. It is also sometimes used to treat opioid addiction. This drug has been approved by the FDA since the 80’s, and while it can help, is not a silver bullet to alcoholism. It can also cause side effects in some users. Like other medications, this medicine is usually started after the patient has detoxed from alcohol and other substances.  


  • Acamprosate— is generally administered by mouth three times a day. While scientists and doctors don’t have a clear understanding of why this medication is effective against alcohol abuse, it generally works to “reduce the discomfort” of withdrawal symptoms. This drug is not effective alone to help with alcoholism, but is used in combination with therapy and other treatments to combat the effects of withdrawal on the user, and simply facilitates the administration of these other treatments. It is available as a generic in the United States and is prescribed to people who have already quit drinking alcohol.  

Does Medicine For Alcohol Cravings Work? 

The short answer is yes and no. There is no simple trick to managing alcoholism. There is no miracle drug that can take away a user’s desire to drink alcohol. The only effective way to stop drinking is with a combination of practices and lifelong vigilance. 

 

With that said, medication can be one arrow in the quiver for tackling alcoholism. By themselves these drugs are largely ineffective, but in combination with other therapies— such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, group therapy and sobriety meetings, and sober living— these drugs can be powerful tools to stop alcoholism. 

 

In short, these drugs must be seen as part of a holistic approach to treatment that may be right for some and not right for others. 

Is Medicine For Alcoholics Right For You? 

Again, there is no silver bullet to cure alcoholism and each patient is different. Only a medical professional can say if taking these or other drugs to treat alcoholism may be appropriate for each individual. The short answer is, every case is different. 

 

What must be understood is these drugs only work in combination with other therapies and are not long term solutions. They can help, but they are not the end all be all. 

 

But the good news is addiction, to drugs or alcohol, is absolutely treatable. There are millions of people around the world who effectively manage their drug and alcohol addictions with the proper care and treatment. We have the utmost confidence that you or your loved ones can be among these happy and healthy individuals. It’s just that there isn’t a magic pill that will do so.  

 

Call Today To See If You Might Be A Good Candidate For Alcoholic Medicine

If you think you might benefit from a medical screening for alcoholism or you think you might be a good candidate for drugs that work to help with alcoholism, give us a call at 800-338-5770. We can help you find out if you might be a good candidate for medication— in combination with other therapies— to treat your alcohol addiction. Help is just a call away, and we hope you contact us soon. We can help you get your life back on track, with medication, and without it.  

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