Alcoholism Can Now Be Treated with Prescription Drugs

Sometimes, quitting can be hard work—especially if you have an alcohol dependency. Now, however, it could be a whole lot easier: France has just cleared a new anti-alcoholism drug for use by its nation of claret swillers.

Originally designed to treat nervous spasms, Baclofen—which goes by the trade names Kemstro, Lioresal and Gablofen—hasn't been shown to be definitively efficient in all cases of alcoholism, but it has been seen to provide "clinical benefits in some patients". In France, that's enough to sign it off for use in patients on a case-by-case basis, reports Medical Express.

Amazingly, the idea of using the drug as an alcoholism treatment came into being in 2008, when a French cardiologist called Olivier Ameisen wrote in a book called The End of My Addiction about how he treated his own drinking with high doses of the drug.

In a small trial conducted with 132 heavy drinkers, Baclofen succeeded in making 80 per cent either become abstinent or moderate drinkers. By comparison, the best any other anti-alcoholism drug has ever managed is 20-25 percent.

Sadly, there is a downside, and in this case it's side effects. Those taking the drug can expect side effects included fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, dizziness and digestive troubles. Still, better than cirrhosis, right? [Medical Express]

Image by Trif/Shutterstock