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Older Drug Helps Alcoholics Abstain

Motivated Patients Have Many Options, Study Shows

80% Decline in Drinking continued...

Drug and alcohol treatment expert Henry R. Kranzler, MD, of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, says the finding points to a strong placebo effect in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

Kranzler tells WebMD that the study also sends a clear message that naltrexone is the first-line drug therapy for the treatment of alcohol dependence.

"Right now, if physicians are prescribing drugs they are probably prescribing SSRI antidepressants," he says. "They should be prescribing naltrexone."

The study also sends the message that there is more than one effective treatment approach for alcohol dependence.

While studies show that intensive group treatment programs like Alcoholics Anonymous can be very effective, many people struggling with alcoholismalcoholism want little to do with group therapy, he says.

"Alcohol-dependent people are very heterogeneous with regard to how they view their drinking and how they would like to approach treatment," he says. "But it is clear that if they are motivated to get help they can get better."

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