New Effective Medications for Alcohol Withdrawal

November, 2009 — Medtox Journal — Over the last decade, physicians have taken to the use of a class of medications that seem to decrease the intensity of alcohol withdrawals and the powerful cravings that are co-occurring. In particular, the neuroleptic medication Neurontin (gabapentin) has demonstrated efficacy in treating alcohol withdrawal and subsequent cravings experienced during rehabilitation. These drugs are used for a variety of different conditions that span treatment of chronic pain to management of seizure disorder. The reports of gabapentin’s ability to reduce alcohol symptoms by regulating GABA levels in the brain have been widely discussed. A search for other effective medications to treat alcohol withdrawal and alcohol cravings is ongoing.

Interest has recently focused on the value of a rather obscure benzodiazepine antagonist called Flumazenil. This drug works in a contradictory way to other drugs, such as Valium, Xanax, and Librium. A pioneering group of drug treatment professionals operating as Prometa have proposed the utilization of Flumazenil and gabapentin for sometime now and have been utilizing the drugs in various ways as part of treatment protocols that they promote. The Prometa system is proposed as effective therapy for the treatment of various drug dependencies. The combinant value of Flumazenil and gabapentin in treating alcohol withdrawal was recently evaluated in a report published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The use of Flumazenil in combination with gabapentin appears to be a very promising therapy in treating the alcoholic.[1] But there are some cautionary notes sounded in the research.

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