New Drug Helps Alcoholics Stay Sober
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first new drug to treat alcohol abuse in a decade.
Campral (acamprosate) is meant to prevent relapses among alcoholics who have stopped drinking. The agency warned that the drug may not work in people who are actively drinking at the start of treatment, or who are abusing other substances in addition to alcohol.
Exactly how the drug works isn't fully understood, the agency said. The medication is thought to act on the brain pathways that help foster alcohol abuse. In clinical trials, Campral proved "superior" to a nonmedicinal placebo in keeping recovering alcoholics from taking a drink, the agency said in a statement.
Common side effects noted during clinical studies included headache, diarrhea, flatulence, and nausea. The drug is produced by Lipha Pharmaceuticals of France.
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