You probably didn’t know that there are FDA-approved medications for alcohol use disorders and alcoholism. Or if you did know, you may only have heard of Antabuse, which makes a person terribly sick if they drink while on Antabuse. In fact, there are several other FDA-approved medications and Stop At Two, Denver’s premier outpatient alcohol harm reduction program, has had tremendous success using these medications.
The most popular medication by far is naltrexone. Easy to take, with few side effects, naltrexone works to reduce cravings for alcohol. Just today, I followed up with a patient who I had started on naltrexone a month ago. This patients admits that she was drinking over 22 drinks a week before starting naltrexone. Now, after only one month of the medication, she is drinking 2 to 4 drinks per week. Who doesn’t want to do that? She admits that she had mild headaches initially but now the headaches are gone and she is doing super.
Many people are simply unaware of the medication and how successful it can be. Stop At Two encourages you to talk to your doctor about naltrexone and the other medications used to treat alcohol use disorders. If you have a serious alcohol use problem, please do not stop drinking “cold turkey.” This can be dangerous and lead to seizures, delirium tremons (DTs) and even death. Make a plan, talk to your doctor. Consider naltrexone therapy.