Mar 28 2008

Alcohol Cravings Medication – Prescription vs. Over the Counter

There are now a number of options for people who want to cut back on their drinking or quit alcohol altogether. New prescription drugs are available that will curb your alcohol cravings. These drugs need to be prescribed by a professional and only after an assessment is made of your condition.
Anti-Craving Medications used today or considered to have useful potential by some clinicians and researchers:

Naltrexone (Oral)
Vivitrol (I.M. Depot Naltrexone)
Campral (Acamprosate)
Topamax (Topiramate)
Baclofen
Chantix (varenicline)
Zofran (ondansetron)

Like any drug you take, there could be adverse side effects and the anti-craving medications are no different. Although they are FDA approved and safe for most people, an alcoholic should be monitored while taking these drugs. Any competent health care professional would want to do a medical evaluation and a psychiatric appraisal of the drug recipient in advance of any treatment.

In some cases a patient may need detoxification, in which case a medication such as Librium can be prescribed to help with severe withdrawal symptoms associated with detoxification. Librium is very effective in limiting the adverse effects of your withdrawal, however it is a very potent medication and it’s generally a good idea to have it dispensed by someone other than the patient. Once a patient has undergone their detoxification they are in better condition to maintain their anti-craving drug therapy.

The professional may choose to administer a ‘package’ of these medications to determine the proper course of long term treatment. There may be dosage adjustments and of course dialogue with the patient to address any side effects and the overall effectiveness of the medications. Ongoing guidance during this phase of therapy is well advised, therefore the treatment option using anti-craving drugs can only happen with professional assistance.

For a self-treatment approach, there are some over the counter (OTC) remedies that have been used with some success according to those who have studied or tried the OTC method. I don’t believe they are for the acute alcoholic by any means, but there is certainly a place for a treatment regimen that offers hope for curtailing ones drinking to improve their overall health. If they experience positive results for curbing their alcohol dependence while taking OTC’s, then so much the better.

Some OTC Medications and Supplements considered to offer benefit in the management of excessive drinking:

Kudzu
L-Glutamine
Milk Thistle
GABA (Gamma-amino-butyric acid)
Vitamin B – formulations including Thiamine and Folic acid

Kudzu in particular is becoming more popular as a treatment for curbing excessive drinking in those who have a self manageable condition; those who know they need to adjust their drinking patterns and wish to try something on their own before seeking out professional support. Kudzu has been known to cut binge drinking intake by up to half.

Studies have shown that when by giving drinkers an extract of kudzu, there was a definite decrease in the amount of alcohol consumed. An added bonus is that there were no side effects detected in any test subjects. Kudzu is widely available online and may become more popular off the shelf.

Kudzu is grown wild in the southern United States so it is easily available, and the Chinese have known of its usefulness since 600 A.D.
Not just any form of kudzu will help you attain the desired results. The proper levels of three key chemicals – Puerarin, Daidzein and Daidzin are essential in curbing your cravings for alcohol. These active ingredients can be found in genuine herbal kudzu extract, so don’t be fooled.

Kudzu taken with a package of other vitamins and herbs like those listed above can assist the excessive drinker in curtailing their cravings and provide an overall healthier lifestyle and feeling of well being.

I have been delighted with the increasing appearance of new medications, prescription and over the counter formulations – as well as new treatment modalities – such as acupuncture and hypnosis. These coupled with a more sophisticated understanding of the problem by caregivers and businesses gives more hope to the suffering alcoholic and his or her family and friends.

It is a great privilege to share the experiences of so many courageous people who take charge of their lives and destiny and on that path and become open and willing to take those steps on their own behalf to honor themselves and their recovery.

To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D.,
Call 1 (866) 285-3400 toll-free or (617) 620-2230,

Or complete and submit our
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For further information about Michael Pearlman, M.D.’s proven treatment program
follow this link now.
Learn more about the FreedomFromAlcohol Method.

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Alcohol Cravings Medication – Prescription vs. Over the Counter”

  1. Triciaon 22 May 2009 at 12:59 am

    Will you please send me more information on the OTC methods for helping with alcohol cravings. I would like to try this method before venturing into rehab. My alcohol dependence has increased over the past 6 years and it is at the point where it is destroying my life. I have intense cravings for alcohol even though I know it is harming my marriage and my well-being. Will please forward to me the proper levels of Puerarin, Daidzein and Daidzin and where to purchase Kudzu I would be eternally grateful.
    Tricia Barron

  2. Maryon 14 May 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Dr. Pearlman,
    Happy to have stumbled across your site today. Thanks for being an MD who makes the effort to investigate holistic therapies in addition to conventional medication. I look forward to following your blog. Best to you and your patients.

  3. Angieon 03 Sep 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I went to the dr. today and he is starting me on Campral. My question is would it help if I took Kuzu also. I just came off of a week long binge.

  4. AJon 16 Oct 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Dr.,

    I’m very interested in trying to fight my drinking problem with Kudzu to see if I can do it or to determine if I need professional help, but I don’t know which extract to buy or where to buy it from. Is there possibly a link to a site that sells the Kudzu you were describing?

    Thanks!

  5. Michael Pearlman, M.D.on 18 Oct 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Hi AJ,

    What I typically use with my patients is the Kudzu from http://www.iHerb.com called Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum. This is the link to the product.

    I am unable to advise you on the usage of Kudzu. This is something you would need to discuss with your own personal physician, as they know your medical history.

    Best of luck to you

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  7. AJon 24 Oct 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you Dr. Pearlman. You’re a very good person for putting together this website to educate people on the dangers of this disease.

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