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Alcohol Treatment Medications: Ondansetron - A Step Toward Eliminating Alcoholism? - Articles Surfing
Studies and research projects on addiction issues the recent years, have found that medications that lower the level of serotonin in the brain may help in alcohol treatment. This of alcohol medication treatment offers first and foremost a short-term solution for severe alcoholics.
Ondansetron is originally a drug used to stop nausea that has been found to be effective against drinking. According to researchers of University of Texas Health Science Center, this medicine helps those who develop alcoholism before the age of 25 to quit drinking and keep off the bottle.
Modern medical researchers see the cause of alcoholism as biological. There are certain biological tendencies, they claim, that make an individual susceptible to alcoholism and other types of drug addiction compared to the average population.
An experimental medical study was conducted using 271 volunteers in Texas in the early 1990's. Most of the volunteers were white, middle-aged males alcoholics who were looking for ways to quit drinking. For the eleven weeks this experiment lasted, half the participants were given ondansetron, and the other half were given a placebo. During the course of this experiment, all received relevant group therapy sessions every week.
Throughout the study, the participants were carefully monitored. Their alcohol consumption was measured by blood and urine tests. Participants also did self-reports. Around 60 percent of the participants did not make it through all the 11 weeks, but it was noted that all of them were able to cut down greatly by the end of the experiment.
The report showed also that, among those who finished the study, participants who had started drinking and developed problems at an earlier age improved the most. This has raised even more questions about this biological basis for alcoholism.
Those who took ondansetron were able to lower their alcohol intake, down to 1 1/2 drinks per day on average. Those who took the placebo were able to cut down to an average of about 3 1/2 drinks per day. This, too, supports the drug's effectiveness.
For those participants who began to drink later in life, no improvement was shown. This may have something to do with how alcoholism develops, the researchers said.
The way ondansetron works is that it blocks the neurotransmitter serotonin. This, in turn, has an effect on other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. We now know exactly which chemicals in the brain cause alcoholism, but reducing the activity of these neurotransmitters has been shown to be effective.
To place this issue in a larger picture we might say that this is just one of many new breakthroughs that help us to understand how addiction and alcoholism in particular works. Each new study or research project sheds light on the biological basis of alcoholism. Through knowledge developments such as these, we may yet find an effective method to treat alcoholism once and for all.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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