Ondansetron - A Breakthrough In Alcohol Treatment Medication

 


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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.

Originally, Ondansetron is a drug used to stop nausea that has been found to be effective against drinking. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center say that this medicine helps those who develop alcoholism before the age of 25 to quit drinking and keep off the bottle.

More and more of medical researchers see the cause of alcoholism as biological. Or as they claim, there are certain biological tendencies that make an individual susceptible to alcoholism and other types of drug addiction compared to the average population.

An experimental study was conducted using 271 volunteers in Texas in the early 1990's. Most of these volunteers were white, middle-aged males who were looking for ways to quit drinking. For the eleven weeks this experiment lasted, half the group was given ondansetron, and the other half were given a placebo. During the course of this experiment, all received 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.

This medical breakthrough is just one of many breakthroughs the last years that help us to understand how addiction and alcoholism in particular works. Each new project sheds light on the biological basis of alcoholism and through the knowledge we continually gain from these ongoing experiments , we may yet find an effective method to treat alcoholism once and for all.

David Richards is a publisher of Alcoholism Facts and Articles . You can go to 1st-Alcoholism-Treatment.com for more.

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