List of 9 Alcohol Use Disorder Medications Compared

Some people are at a higher risk for developing alcohol use disorder, including people who began drinking before they turned 15, those who binge drink, and those with a family history of alcohol misuse or mental health issues. At this point, it’s vital that you give your health care provider complete information on your health and drinking history, including how long you have been drinking, the amount you actually drink, any medical conditions you have and all the medications you take. In a 2019 government health survey on alcohol and drug use, fewer than one in 10 people with an alcohol use disorder reported having received any treatment, and less than 2 percent of those individuals said they had been offered medication.

Why won’t doctors prescribe naltrexone?

Many doctors won't prescribe naltrexone, often citing liver toxicity as a reason. But when researchers at The University of Manchester reviewed 89 placebo-controlled studies of naltrexone involving over 11,000 patients, they found no evidence of any serious side effects.

Addiction treatment programs sprang forth from Alcoholics Anonymous (Alcoholics Anonymous 1976) and other step-based movements. The resulting system of care possesses, at its core, a philosophical belief that total abstinence is gained not through the use of medication to treat alcohol dependence but instead through blood, sweat, and personal tears working through the 12 steps. Researchers funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a Federal Government research agency, reviewed studies on medicines to treat alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder published between January 1970 and October 2013.

Clinical Use of Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone in the Treatment of OUD (

Residential treatment programs typically include licensed alcohol and drug counselors, social workers, nurses, doctors, and others with expertise and experience in treating alcohol use disorder. Up to half of people with AUD will experience some withdrawal symptoms when easing off alcohol, experts say. These can include irritability, agitation, elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, insomnia, increased anxiety, sweating, nausea and vomiting.

Why can’t I stop drinking?

Overall, there are an array of factors that contribute to alcohol dependence, not only with brain chemistry but underlying factors as well. Things like mental health, environmental influences, and genetics can all contribute to a drinking problem.

Submit your number and receive a free call today from a treatment provider. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober. Tablets are sold under the brand names ReVia sober house and Depade, and are generally taken once per day. While tablets are the most commonly prescribed type of this medication, it can be difficult to remember to take the pill at the same time every day. If a dose is missed, or a person takes more of the medicine than prescribed, health complications can arise.


Abstaining from alcohol can be a difficult decision as it requires significant lifestyle changes. This process can be made even more difficult by symptoms of withdrawal and alcohol cravings. Fortunately, there are several medications that can aid in alleviating alcohol cravings. Several of these medications are approved by the FDA and are available by prescription only.

  • Building on this progress, scientists continue to work on new medications and discover new ways to improve the effectiveness, accessibility, quality, and cost-effectiveness of treatment for people who have alcohol use disorders.
  • Future research should carefully examine the effectiveness of these and other approaches to improving the extent to which primary care physicians can be prompted to use effective medications when appropriate to treat their patients with alcohol problems.
  • And stigma often keeps people who are affected by alcohol from seeking help, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
  • The same result was not seen in patients who were still drinking at the start of the study.

Indeed, a growing body of research to support basic screening methods, brief interventions, and especially medication therapy has yet to have a major impact on how primary care providers care for individuals at risk for or with alcohol problems (D’Amico et al. 2005). The results of studies on how to enhance the use of screening and brief intervention, however, may inform how to promote medication treatments for alcohol problems in primary care. In addition, the success of strategies to implement screening and brief-intervention practices in primary care appears to rely on a variety of complex provider and organizational characteristics (Babor et al. 2005). Understanding and addressing these characteristics may be particularly important if these medications are to gain acceptance in primary care. Future research should carefully examine the effectiveness of these and other approaches to improving the extent to which primary care physicians can be prompted to use effective medications when appropriate to treat their patients with alcohol problems.

Disulfiram (Antabuse)

Recovery Connection is the ultimate addiction recovery resource portal for information on the latest treatments, centers, and programs. Whether you’re looking for treatment or for aftercare options, we can point you in the right direction. We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. Submit your number to receive a call today from a treatment provider. But it’s important to know that not all treatment facilities are the same.

Moreover, the efficacy studies of extended-release naltrexone used BRENDA counseling, albeit the frequency of appointments may have exceeded that likely to occur in primary care. Future studies should evaluate the efficacy of once-a-month extended-release naltrexone with less frequent counseling and in patients recruited through primary care sites. Unhealthy alcohol use, which includes the spectrum of drinking behaviors and consequences ranging from risky use to problem drinking, along with alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence (Saitz 2005), has been linked to a multitude of health and social problems. Unhealthy alcohol use accounts for an estimated 85,000 deaths at an economic cost of $185 billion annually in the United States (Harwood 2000). Beyond this, numerous medical problems, such as liver disease, neurologic problems, and malignancies, as well as behavioral dysfunction resulting in employment and legal problems are directly attributable to alcohol.

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The prescribing healthcare professional can answer questions and provide information about the use of naltrexone for alcohol use disorder. “Although medical management is somewhat more intensive than the alcohol dependence interventions offered in most of today’s health care settings, it is not unlike other patient care models such as initiating insulin therapy in patients with diabetes mellitus.” A multitude of factors are thought to influence the substance abuse treatment community’s ability and/or willingness to incorporate these practices into routine care.

Antabuse (disulfiram) was the first medicine approved for the treatment of alcohol misuse and alcohol dependence. It works by causing a severe adverse reaction when someone taking the medication consumes alcohol. Most studies are of short duration, and more long-term trials are needed.

Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication for those looking to reduce or stop drinking alcohol, and Disulfiram is an FDA-approved medication for those looking to stop drinking alcohol. Each of these medications work in different ways to help stave off alcohol cravings and prevent people from picking up a drink. That is why alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal treatment is administered by medical professionals. Individuals who are dependent on alcohol often suffer from negative side effects such as physical dependence, anxiety, depression, confusion, organ damage, strained relationships and difficulty meeting major responsibilities. Making the decision to quit drinking can help alleviate these symptoms by improving mood and lessening the physical side effects. Join the thousands of people that have called a treatment provider for rehab information.

medication for alcoholism

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