A Comprehensive Guide to Anti-Addiction Medications Part 4

This is the conclusion of a series listing the supportive medications that can be given to ease cravings and alleviate withdrawal symptoms during recovery from addiction.

DISCLAIMER: This list is presented for information only. Before taking ANY medication, talk to your personal physician about your substance use to determine what actions are right for you.

  • Modafinil (Provigil) – This wakefulness-promoting drug has been given “off label” to reduce cocaine cravings and to increase the number of abstinent days among cocaine users.
  • Naloxone (Narcan) – This opioid overdose reversal drug is NOT for treatment. However, the close call of an overdose is often an experience traumatic enough to compel a person to seek professional help.
  • Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol) – This medication is FDA-approved to treat alcohol and opiate dependence. Whether given orally or via injection, it completely blocks the opiate receptor, which means the person cannot get drunk or high. Of special relevance, Vivitrol injections are only needed once per month.
  • Nicotine (Nicoderm CQ, Nicorette) – When used in replacement products, nicotine tapering is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking.
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal) – This barbiturate helps alleviate anxiety during detox from alcohol or benzodiazepines and helps reduce the severity of the dangerous tremors and convulsions associated with withdrawal from either substance.
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica) – Like gabapentin, to which it is related, this more expensive branded drug may alleviates the anxiety and reduce the risk of seizures during alcohol withdrawal.
  • Propranolol (Inderal) – Although still in the research phase, this high blood pressure medication shows promise as a treatment for PTSD and performance anxiety. In a related way, propranolol may help with alcohol and cocaine abuse because it alters the emotional memories of cue-related triggers that compel substance-seeking behaviors.
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) – This vitamin may help restore normal neurotransmitter function.
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1) – Alcohol-induced thiamine deficiency leads to possibly life-threatening medical conditions. Replacement therapy is a first-line treatment option.
  • Topiramate (Topamax) – This anticonvulsant medication, typically prescribed for epilepsy, is particularly effective in helping patients who are dependent on alcohol or cocaine. Patients who take topiramate are able to achieve three times as many cocaine-free days and 26% more alcohol-free days.
  • Varenicline (Chantix, Champix) – Not only is varenicline the most-prescribed and most-effective anti-smoking medication, it can also help curb alcohol abuse. Patients given this medication can reduce their number of “heavy” drinking days by 22%.

Lasting Recovery, a premier outpatient drug and alcohol rehab program in San Diego, supports the use of ALL evidence-based treatment therapies – MAT, behavioral counseling, group therapy, and other proven holistic therapies. If you need help for any addictive behavior, Lasting Recovery can help.

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