Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided.Medications may be recommended as a part of treatment to help manage withdrawal symptoms, decrease pleasure associated with drinking, create negative physical symptoms like nausea after drinking, or to help manage related psychological conditions. Medications are usually prescribed alongside counseling or other psychosocial treatment. AUD is also usually treated with a combination of medications, rather than just one medication. Treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis. Contact your doctor if you have further questions about usage or side effects
Prescription Medications for AUDAdjunct therapy (naltrexone)Deterrent therapy (disulfiram)AcamprosateBenzodiazepines
Prescription Medications for AUDAdjunct TherapyCommon name—naltrexoneNaltrexone is used to help you to stay away from alcohol, but it is not a cure for addiction. It may work by blocking the high that makes you crave alcohol. However, it will not, prevent you from experiencing the effects of alcohol. Naltrexone is available as a pill and an injection in the muscle.Possible side effects include:
- Liver damage
- Anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia
- Nausea and vomiting
- Adverse reactions at the injection site
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness, which may lead to fainting
- Sweating and flushing
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart beat
- Rarely, suicidal thoughts
Special ConsiderationsContact your doctor if your medication does not seem to be working after the allotted period of time or if you have any side effects that are troublesome or persistent.If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:
- Take your medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
- Ask what side effects could occur. Discuss them with your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor before you stop taking the medication.
- Plan ahead for refills if you need them.
- Do not share your medication with anyone.
- Drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one drug, including over-the-counter products and supplements.
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