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Easing the Agony of Alcoholism

Drug reduces drinking and improves quality of life for sufferers

THURSDAY, Sept. 9, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Topiramate, a drug used to prevent epileptic seizures, helps reduce drinking and improve quality of life for alcoholics, says a study by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

The study included 150 alcohol-dependent adults. Half of them took topiramate and half took a placebo for 12 weeks. The participants' overall well-being and alcohol dependence severity, quality of life and harmful drinking consequences were assessed at the beginning and throughout the study.

Those taking topiramate were more than twice as likely to experience improved well-being than those taking the placebo; more than two-and-a-half times more likely to report alcohol abstinence; more than twice as likely to report overall satisfaction with life; and to report fewer instances of harmful drinking consequences.

"Our results show that topiramate is more effective than placebo at improving the quality of life and overall clinical condition and at reducing the severity of addiction and harmful consequences of heavy drinking," the study authors wrote.

Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., provided the medication and a research grant for this study, which appears in the September issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more about treatments for alcohol use disorders.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Sept. 6, 2004
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