Promising New Drug for Alcohol Dependence - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/10/08

Promising New Drug for Alcohol Dependence

Topamax, an epilepsy and migraine medication that is already on the market is being studied because new research suggests that it can also treat alcohol addiction. It is called Topiramate when used in this capacity and it works in the brain to suppress the pleasure of drinking. Researchers say that as an added benefit, it appears to reduce some of the ill-effects of alcohol dependence.

Bankole Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Virginia, says, "Mainly this will reduce the liver enzymes and also reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol.  I think that one of the cornerstones of what we've done is to demonstrate that the treatment for alcoholism can be like a treatment for blood pressure or like the treatment of diabetes which is uncomplicated.  You should be able to go to your doctor, tell them about your drinking, have a pill that will help you, with some psychological support, and be followed up by your doctor".

Topiramate does not work overnight; it can take a few weeks. 

Larger studies are underway at the University of Virginia.  For information about the study, (click here).  Then type the trial identification number in the search box: NCT00223639.

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