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New Treatment to Help Quit Drinking
February 2000

Q. My father is an alcoholic. Is there anything new that may help him quit drinking?

A. Alcoholism is a very serious addiction that can have devastating consequences both physically (stomach ulcers, liver and pancreatic disease, and sometimes death) and emotionally, often leading to serious problems with relationships, one's job, and sometimes the law (driving under the influence).

Fortunately, there is help available. Although, the first step to successful treatment is that one has to admit that they have a problem with alcohol.

The answer to your question is yes. A drug called Naltrexone (Revia), has been shown to improve the success rate of quitting alcohol. It seems to help decrease one's desire to drink and may help reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms. One has to be careful to avoid narcotics while on this med. Those with liver disease should not take Revia. The usual dose is 50mg once per day, in conjunction with an alcohol rehab program. Attending regular Alcohol Anonymous (AA) meetings can be very helpful as well, and I highly recommend this in addition to a formal rehab program (which often can be done as an outpatient).

For more info, you may contact the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence: 1-800-622-2255.

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