Another effective medical tool to help you quit alcohol.
Ondansetron has been approved for use by the FDA as an anti-nausea medication, being of great help for patients undergoing chemotherapy and other nausea inducing medical treatments.
As with many medications, including naltrexone, researchers have discovered multiple uses. Researchers at the University of Texas, Health Science Center in San Antonio noticed that patients being treated with ondansetron reported a significantly lower desire to consume alcohol. At first it was thought that the decreased urge to drink had more to do with confronting a serious life-threatening illness, than being an effective medication on its own for alcohol dependence. The reports however continued as to increased abstinence and research was undertaken.
In the August 23, 2000 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association, the effectiveness of ondansetron for the treatment of alcohol dependence was first reported. It was reported that ondansetron was especially effective for early-onset alcoholism. Early-onset alcoholism, defined as problematic drinking before age 25, is characterized by a more extensive family history of alcoholism, an increased propensity for antisocial behaviors, anxiety, and a more serious, but stable disease course.
The new study was led by Bankole A. Johnson, MD, PhD, who was the Wurzbach Professor of Psychiatry, department chair for research, and chief of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Addiction at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio. He is currently at the University of Virginia however he has accepted an appointment to join the University of Marylnd as the Chairman of Psychiatry and to lead a Bain Science Research Consortium in the neurosciences.
Numerous studies have concluded and it is generally accepted that the combination of medication assisted treatment and some form of psychotherapy is the most successful approach to treating alcohol dependence. In this study, investigators compared patients who received one of three different doses of ondansetron or a placebo, all of whom also attended weekly cognitive behavioral psychotherapy sessions.
Ondansetron is very effective in reducing or eliminating the side effects of the detoxification process. For example, it is especially helpful with nausea and anxiety, which are experienced by most individuals going through deter.
Researchers have further concluded that combining medications, for example ondansetron, naltrexone and the newly approved Campral is very effective. Dr. Johnson stated: “The combination of ondansetron and naltrexone significantly reduced the alcohol consumption of these biological alcoholics, presumably by correcting underlying disequilibrium in the serotonergic and opioid brain systems.” Using this combination of medications as the standard of treatment for severe alcoholics could be as few as four years away (written in 2000). Medications targeted toward the serotonin and opioid abnormalities of alcoholics produce a very large treatment response,” explains Dr. Johnson.
Again, it must be understood that the use of effective medications is a tool to be utilized in the path to recovery, and are not cures in themselves. The Pennsylvania Model emphasizes a balanced approach that includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.
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