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Topamax may help reduce alcohol addiction

By October 10, 2007 No Comments

The AP is reporting that “A migraine [and epilepsy] pill seems to help alcoholics taper off their drinking without detox treatment,…offering a potential option for a hard-to-treat problem,” according to a study published in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The pill is called Topamax (topiramate), and may “appeal to heavy drinkers who would rather seek help from their own doctors, rather than enter a rehab clinic to dry out.” Heavy drinkers consumed about “11 standard drinks daily,” which translates into “two six-packs of beer each day, or two bottles of wine.” While study participants noted some side effects, addiction specialist Dr. Mark Willenbring of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said, “The size of the treatment effect is larger than in most of the other medications we’ve seen. … And all the drinking variables changed in the right direction.” On average, Topamax would cost about $350 per month, in addition to physicians’ fees.

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