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Epilepsy Drug Found Useful in Treating Alcoholism

Posted in Alcoholism Treatment

Health authorities in France have given the drug, Baclofen, the green light after discovering that it has proved helpful to those struggling with alcoholism in pre-clinical trials. While the muscle relaxant drug was originally used to treat spasticity, it may have implications for improving symptoms of alcoholism and is currently being administered on a trial basis.

Baclofen, also known on the market as of Kemstro, Liorsal, Liofen, and Gablofen, has been around for the last half-century. In fact, it was first used to ease symptoms of epilepsy. However, Baclofen is now in the news for its potential use in the treatment of alcohol abuse.

Baclofen resurfaced in 2008 and peaked interest in the French health community after Dr. Oliver Ameisen, a cardiologist, used the drug to treat and cure his own alcoholism. He chronicled his journey in his book entitled "Le Dernier Verre," which translates to "The Last Drink."

Though testing of Baclofen is still in its infancy, research has shown that it has provided benefits for patients that even some treatments used specifically for alcoholism haven’t been able to do.

In the first pre-clinical trial, over 130 alcoholics using Baclofen were monitored for an entire year. While traditional treatments for intemperance such as naltrexone and acamprosate help improve symptoms in 20 to 25 percent of people, 80 percent of the Baclofen users either reduced their drinking to a more moderate level or gave up alcohol completely.

The surprising results of the early trials have paved the way for further research into the use of Baclofen to treat alcoholism. In May, 320 more individuals will undergo clinical trials to confirm results of the first tests.

The new clinical trials will take place over the next year and will cost approximately $1.45 million. The high price tag may be worth it if Baclofen continues to help those suffering from alcoholism to regain control of their health.