Each year, alcoholism kills over 30,000 people and many more people struggle with the side effects of alcohol abuse.
Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System have reported that a drug can lead to a reduction in heavy drinking. Topiramate is a drug currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration that is used to treat seizures and migraine headaches.
Bankole Johnson, chairman of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at Virginia, says,"Alcoholism is a treatable disease. Topiramate not only reduces the symptoms of the desire for heavy drinking, but also improves the physical and psychological health of the people who take it."
Male and female diagnosed alcoholics were involved in a 14-week nationwide clinical study. The drug was found to be more effective than a placebo at reducing cravings for alcohol. It also worked to lower liver enzymes, cholesterol, body mass index and blood pressure. Topiramate could possibly lower the risk of cirrhosis, which is the scarring of the liver and the number one cause of death in heavy drinkers.
Patients involved in the study and taking Topiramate experienced a 54 percent decline in their cravings and obsessive thoughts about alcohol. To compare, the placebo group only showed a 33 percent reduction.
There were some side effects reported, such as a numbness or tingling sensation, altered taste, weight loss leading to anorexia, and difficulty in concentrating.
That would be great if this pill could treat alcoholism and reduce the cravings. But a few people in the test group actually stopped taking the pill because they were uncomfortable with the side effects. So that could be one drawback to getting an alcohol abuser one step closer to their recovery. I also think that people taking this drug to help their alcoholism should also take some form of rehabilitation class so they don't go into relapse if something triggers their desires again.