Naltrexone is used to help you to stay away from alcohol, but it is not a cure for addiction. It may work by blocking the high that makes you crave alcohol. It will not, however, prevent you from experiencing the effects of alcohol. Naltrexone is available as a pill and an injection in the muscle.
Possible side effects include: Liver damageHeadacheAnxiety, nervousness, and
insomniaFatigueNausea and vomitingAdverse reactions at the injection site
Disulfiram helps you overcome your drinking problem by making you very sick if you drink alcohol. However, it does not cure alcoholism. While you take this medication, and for at least 12 hours before you begin taking it, you should not drink even the smallest amount of alcohol. You should not use any foods, products, or medications that contain alcohol, nor should you come into contact with any chemicals that contain alcohol while using this medication.
If you have been diagnosed with heart disease or
schizophrenia, talk to your doctor before taking this medication. Do not take this medication if you are allergic to disulfiram.
If you use alcohol while taking this medication, you may experience some of the following symptoms: Nausea and vomitingChest painLightheadedness, which may lead to faintingSweating and flushingDifficulty breathingConfusionWeaknessRapid heart beatDrowsiness
If you experience mild reactions, you will most likely recover completely. However, reactions may worsen leading to breathing problems, heart problems, seizure, unconciousness, and possibly death. Symptoms will last from 30 minutes to several hours.
If you have mild or moderate reactions, see a doctor for help. If you experience severe reactions, call for emergency medical services right away.
Acamprosate reduces your craving for alcohol by inhibiting a chemical in your brain called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). Several studies have indicated that it may help you remain abstinent.
Possible side effects include: DiarrheaHeadacheWeaknessRarely, suicidal thoughts
Common names include: DiazepamChlordiazepoxideLorazepamOxazepam
Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety drugs that may be used to relieve withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism and reduce the risk of
seizures. These drugs produce a sedative effect. Benzodiazepines are usually not used for long periods of time because they can lead to dependence and may cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.
Possible side effects include: DrowsinessLightheadedness