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Naltrexone effective for drinking problems

According to a new study, researchers found that the treatment naltrexone is effective among those with a 'Mediterranean' pattern of alcohol abuse. Researchers of alcohol often distinguish two patterns of drinking// - the Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian pattern, where heavy bouts of drinking are saved up for the weekend and holidays, and the Mediterranean pattern, where alcohol is consumed more regularly and often with meals. The Anglo-Saxon pattern has been linked most often with abuse, but the Mediterranean style can also lead to too much consumption.

Naltrexone is a drug, also used to treat drug addiction, which acts on the brain to take away the pleasure of drinking. Spanish researchers looked at a group of 150 alcohol-dependent patients with the Mediterranean drinking pattern. Half were given naltrexone and half a placebo for 13 weeks. After this time, only 8% in the naltrexone group resorted to heavy drinking, compared to 20% in the placebo group. This is the first study to show that naltrexone is an effective treatment for heavy drinking in the Mediterranean style.


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