Two prescription medications, naltrexone and acamprosate, which have been shown to be effective in treating alcoholism has been vastly under prescribed according to a recent study. One of the biggest hurdles has been to get the word out and educating doctors about their effectiveness.
According to the New York Times, “The medications, naltrexone and acamprosate, reduce cravings for alcohol by fine-tuning the brain’s chemical reward system. They have been approved for treating alcoholism for over a decade. But questions about their efficacy and a lack of awareness among doctors have resulted in the drugs’ being underused, the researchers said.
“Less than a third of all people with alcohol problems receive treatment of any kind, and less than 10 percent are prescribed medications. The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers provide coverage for substance abuse treatments and services, and addiction specialists expect to see increases this year in the number of people seeking help for alcoholism.
“George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said the new study should reassure doctors that naltrexone and acamprosate, while not silver bullets, can help many patients …
“… Historically, treatment for alcoholism and other addictions has been relegated to support groups, rehabilitation centers and similar programs, said Dr. Katharine A. Bradley, a senior investigator at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. But that is beginning to change as more doctors view addiction as a chronic illness that should be treated in a health care setting …”
The mindset needs to change and doctors need to be aware so that thousands of people may be helped by this treatment.