Binge drinking is a common issue that affects people of all ages and genders. It is defined as consuming more than four drinks in a sitting for men and more than three for women, and it is considered a major risk factor for alcohol-related illness and injuries, as well as the development of alcohol disorders.
A new study suggests that taking naltrexone on an as-needed basis may help reduce binge drinking in people who are not severely dependent on alcohol.
Research Analysis!.. The study conducted by the American Journal of Psychiatry involved 120 men who wanted to reduce their binge drinking. They were given naltrexone to take whenever they felt a craving for alcohol or anticipated a period of heavy drinking. Naltrexone is an FDA-approved medication that has been used for the treatment of alcohol dependence for nearly 30 years.
However, it is typically prescribed for patients with more severe alcohol disorders to take daily to abstain from drinking. Taking naltrexone on an as-needed basis may be more tolerable for some people because it allows their dopamine levels to recover in between uses. The approach could also let people feel more in control of their treatment.
More Details..! By the end of the 12-week study, those given naltrexone reported binge drinking less frequently and consuming less alcohol than those who had been given a placebo, a change that lasted for up to six months.
The most commonly reported side effect of naltrexone was mild nausea. The results of the study suggest that naltrexone may be an effective tool for reducing binge drinking in people who are not severely dependent on alcohol.
However, researchers agree that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating alcohol disorders. While naltrexone and other approved medications are vastly underused, they may not be suitable for everyone. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for each individual.
In a 2019 government health survey on alcohol and drug use, fewer than one in 10 people with an alcohol use disorder reported having received any treatment, and less than 2 percent of those individuals said they had been offered medication. Many physicians do not even know about the drugs. This highlights the need for increased education and awareness about the available treatment options for alcohol disorders.
Summarizing the findings! The study suggests that taking naltrexone on an as-needed basis may be an effective tool for reducing binge drinking in people who are not severely dependent on alcohol.
However, it is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for each individual. More education and awareness about available treatment options are needed to improve access to care for people with alcohol disorders.