Oklahoma Department of Corrections
|March 26, 2009 (a)||It may
sound contradictory to some, but medical research has found several pharmaceutical
treatment approaches that have had substantial success in reducing or
eliminating human abuse of other substances. Topiramate is one, and this
story on naltrexone shows another. Having these treatments available
is only one part of the remedy, of course, since authorities have to
have confidence in the treatments in order to require them and abusers
have to actually get the treatments, whether they want to or not. In
addition, the drug companies have to have a large enough market to justify
production of the helpful drugs, no matter how successful. But having
the potential at hand for managing one of the most significant contributors
to crime and subsequent policy is considered by many to be a good first
Here’s the part of the article to get you to link to the rest:
“King and her colleagues examined 78 study participants (43 men, 35 women) drawn from a larger study looking at the effectiveness of naltrexone on smoking cessation. Of the 78, 34 were randomly assigned to receive naltrexone; 44 received a placebo. Dosage at 25 mg daily began three days prior to the quit date, and then continued at 50 mg daily for eight weeks. Drinking and liver enzyme levels were monitored, and all participants received nicotine patches (to ease withdrawal symptoms) and behavioral counseling for up to four weeks following the quit date.
"Naltrexone, at 50 mg oral daily, when added to counseling and patch, significantly decreased heavy drinking rates in smokers enrolled in smoking cessation," said King. "Persons with the heaviest drinking patterns appeared to benefit the most from naltrexone, in terms of alcohol and smoking outcomes; it also increased their quit rates more so than in lighter drinkers."
King noted that that these results are likely based on the strong inter-connections between drinking and smoking for many individuals.
"Both nicotine and alcohol may stimulate brain reward pathways connected to endogenous opioids – meaning the 'endorphins' which are feel-good brain chemicals – as well as dopamine," she said. "An opioid blocker like naltrexone therefore may benefit persons who use both substances concurrently." She and her research team are trying to replicate these findings with a larger group of participants.
"If we do support these findings with a larger sample, then use of naltrexone could be expanded to drinkers-smokers who are trying to quit smoking," she said. "While quitting smoking is difficult for many, it may be especially hard for smokers who also drink alcohol, because the two are often used together, and drinking can dose-dependently trigger smoking urges and behavior. A medication like naltrexone, in addition to a standard quality smoking cessation program, may help this hard-to-treat subgroup of smokers who face additive health consequences from the co-use of these substances. This is significant also because naltrexone is well tolerated and safe."
|Title:||DOing Drugs To Stop Alcohol Abuse|
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