Drug Used to Treat Epilepsy Can Help People with Alcoholism: Study

The drug gabapentin, used to treat epilepsy and some types of pain, can help people with alcoholism quit drinking, a new study concludes.

The 12-week study of 150 alcohol-dependent participants found gabapentin decreased the number of days people drank heavily, and at least tripled the percentage of people who were able to stop drinking altogether, compared with those receiving a placebo. The drug also reduced alcohol craving and improved mood and sleep quality, Forbes reports.

After 12 weeks, 4 percent of those receiving a placebo were completely abstinent, compared with 11 percent of those receiving 900 milligrams of gabapentin, and 17 percent of those receiving 1,800 milligrams of gabapentin. Among those receiving a placebo, 22 percent reported no heavy drinking days (more than four drinks a day for women, and five for men), compared with 30 percent taking 800 milligrams of gabapentin, and 45 percent taking 1,800 milligrams.

The study appears in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Gabapentin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating epilepsy and neuropathic pain, a complex, chronic pain state that is usually accompanied by tissue injury.

Full story of epilepsy drug for alcoholism at DrugFree.org

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