Is Medication an Effective Option to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

Alcohol Use Disorder, also known as AUD, is a significant issue that impacts millions of people in the United States. According to the NIAAA, hazardous alcohol consumption causes 3.3 million fatalities per year; it is a figure that has climbed in recent years, and it does not seem to go down in the coming years.

Though complicated, alcohol consumption disorder, sometimes known as alcoholism as well, is a curable condition. While a standard AUD treatment involves medical detox and various therapies, people who are trying to quit drinking may find that adding medicines to their alcohol recovery program, known as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), is also a beneficial choice.

MAT is a combination of medication and therapy, and it is commonly used to treat opioid use disorders and aid in addiction recovery programs. The medicines used in MAT help patients lower their cravings for alcohol, and when paired with counseling to address the issues in question, the alcohol victim can effectively get rid of alcohol dependence.

MAT has proven to be a helpful program for people with AUD. For a lot of people, combining medicine and treatment allows them to stay clean and sober for a longer time and lowers their risk of overdose as well as any other health issues.

There are several drugs that can help people with the condition to stay sober and have productive lives. The FDA has specifically authorized three drugs to treat alcohol consumption disorders:

1: Disulfiram

This drug has been used for treating alcoholism for more than 60 years. It interferes with the breakdown of alcohol in the body, causing a buildup of the poisonous chemical acetaldehyde. When people use alcohol, they experience awful effects like nausea and headaches, among others. Thus, this drug is an effective deterrent for persons seeking to quit alcohol.

2: Naltrexone

This one inhibits opioid effects and lowers alcohol cravings. It acts by inhibiting the brain receptors that are responsible for alcohol’s pleasant effects on the human body. Making alcohol less appealing to consume can help lessen cravings, ultimately leading to decreased intake of alcohol.

3: Acamprosate

This drug aids in restoring the equilibrium of neurotransmitters, which are disrupted by long-term alcohol consumption. Thus, it decreases cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms. As a result, this drug makes it simpler for people to give off drinking quickly.

There are a few other drugs licensed for other medical conditions, including seizures and muscular spasms, which have shown promise in treating alcoholism. They are the following:


It is generally used for the treatment of epilepsy and migraine, but it has also proven to be useful in the treatment of alcoholism. Increased activation of the GABA reduces alcohol cravings.


It is commonly used to alleviate muscular spasms but has been used to treat alcoholism by inhibiting the activation of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is known to have a role in alcohol addiction.

Medication may not be a cure alone for alcoholism, and it’s not always the best course of therapy for everyone diagnosed with AUD. However, when combined with a comprehensive treatment program, research suggests that it can be useful in lowering alcohol intake, enhancing brain functioning, and raising abstinence rates. Thus, opt for the best approach as per your situation.