New Book Takes the First Sober Look at FDA-Approved Medications for Alcoholism: A Prescription for Alcoholics
Never heard of medication for alcoholism? You're not alone. Eighty-eight thousand Americans will die this year from alcohol dependence. Most will do so without ever knowing of the FDA-approved medications that might have saved their lives. A controversial new book - 'A Prescription for Alcoholics - Medications for Alcoholism' - takes a first sober look at medication for alcoholics, including the research behind them, and why nobody - including physicians - seems to know about them.
NEW YORK, March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Most people (including physicians and alcoholics) are unaware of the FDA-approved medications to fight alcoholism, despite the fact that the US government calls them the 'standard of care for the treatment of alcoholism.'
Instead of medical treatment, the vast majority of doctors send treatment-seeking alcoholics to Alcoholics Anonymous-based 12-step programs which result in a dismal failure rate estimated at 90 percent.
A new book is tackling this treatment problem head on.
'A Prescription for Alcoholics – Medications for Alcoholism' by author Linda Burlison is the first book ever published about FDA-approved medications for alcoholism.
The 550-page book is an extensive look at drugs like naltrexone, acamprosate, baclofen, topiramate, gabapentin, nalmefene and others.
Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the US National Institute on Drugs, and Dr. George Koob, Director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse are spearheading a new understanding of alcoholism as a complex brain disease, and the medication that can treat it.
Drs. Volkow and Koob are just two of thousands of researchers whose clinical research into medication for alcoholism forms the body of evidence the book cites.
Written in plain English, the book highlights hundreds of studies conducted over many decades into medication that can reduce cravings, help manage alcohol consumption and help troubled drinkers abstain from drinking completely.
A Prescription for Alcoholics – Medications for Alcoholism is available exclusively from Amazon in Kindle and paperback. The first chapter can be read for free through Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature.
The book provides answers to important questions about safety, liver toxicity, side effects, dosage and more.
Most importantly it provides easy-to-read information which can be brought to a doctor's office to help a patient and their physician make an informed decision about treatment choices together.
Burlison began researching for a friend who was fighting a battle with alcoholism. "I started to come across literally hundreds of studies in the world's top medical and scientific journals showing their effectiveness. However, when we asked doctors about them, they had never heard of them. I realized there was a major disconnect between the medical research and what doctors were prescribing," says Burlison.
"Because North American pharmaceutical companies are not marketing them, and 12-step programs like AA don't talk about them, even though research proves these drugs are very effective, nobody knows about them."
"It's a tragedy with massive proportions. I know people who have lost daughters, wives, husbands, friends to this disease, and never knew medication was a real treatment option," says Burlison.
In the United States it is estimated that 18 million Americans suffer from alcoholism, and the World Health Organization has called it the "number one killer."
"Most of the medications, like acamprosate, naltrexone, baclofen, topiramate, gabapentin and several others are generic, and three of those can only be prescribed off-label for alcoholism. These factors mean no pharmaceutical rep will even mention them to a doctor."
"12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous look down on the use of medication. AA is an 80-year old religion-based program which strictly follows a structure developed in the thirties. They will not talk about medical options at meetings."
"And 12-Step programs only support complete abstinence – whereas some of these medications help drinkers reduce and manage their drinking, and don't require complete abstinence."
"There is an enormous gap in our system. There are thousands of top scientists working in this area right now, but there is a gap between their research findings and what the public knows about evidence-based medical care for alcoholics. This book bridges the gap. It provides a picture of the medications that exist, points you to the research behind them as well as additional resources, and gives you what you need to have an informed conversation with your doctor," says Burlison.
Burlison likens the 'learning curve' for medications that can help dependent drinkers to the emergence of antidepressants in the late '80s.
"For example, before drugs like Prozac became available, there was less understanding of depression as an actual illness. But as it and other medications in its class were prescribed and we saw results, treatment with medication became more accepted. As a result, society developed a greater understanding of depression as a complex medical condition needing treatment."
"Today, we are at a similar place with alcoholism. When doctors and dependent drinkers start to learn about these medications and start to see their effectiveness, we'll also gain a better societal understanding that alcoholism is, in fact, another complex brain disease, not a character weakness or something that can only be resolved for everyone in a church basement."
- Title: A Prescription for Alcoholics – Medications for Alcoholism
- Author: Linda Burlison
- Paperback Published: March 2016
- ISBN: 978-0997107609
- Retail Price: $0.99 (digital); $18.99 (paperback)
- Publisher: Stonecutter Books (StonecutterBooks.com)
- Contact: email@example.com
- Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Prescription-Alcoholics-Medications-Alcoholism/dp/099710760X
Additional Sources of Information about Medication for Alcoholism
US Government Reports:
- "Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Medicine - Report", National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse from http://www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/addiction-medicine
- "Medications for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder – A Brief Guide", Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
- "Drugs for Alcoholism Don't Have to Lead to Sobriety FDA Says", Bloomberg News, February 2015
- "AA Saved My Life, But Now I've Lost my Faith", The Guardian, November 2015 at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/29/alcoholics-anonymous-saved-my-life-but-i-lost-my-faith
- "Does Rehab Work", Scientific American, Jul 2011
- Research from leading medical journals can be found at http://www.aprescriptionforalcoholics.com/resources/research-and-journal-articles/
Leading Scientific Authorities Researching in this Area:
- Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the US National Institute on Drugs
- Dr. George Koob, Director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Dr. Barbara Mason, Director, Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology and Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research
- Dr. Carolina L Haass-Koffler, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University
- Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc., Chief of Clinical Psychoneuroendocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, NIAAA/NIDA
- Dr. Markus Heilig, M.D., Ph.D., Former Chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Studies (LCS), and Clinical Director of NIAAA's Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research
Visit http://www.aprescriptionforalcoholics.com/press-kit/ for downloadable digital assets, quotes from topic experts, statistics about alcoholism, book synopsis, and more.
Press Release References:
1. Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science & Practice - CASAColumbia
2. Dodes L. The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry [Internet]. Book.
3. Volkow ND, Koob G. Brain disease model of addiction: why is it so controversial? The Lancet Psychiatry, Elsevier; 2015 Aug 8
4. Glaser G. The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous, The Atlantic. 2015
5. Kraft S. WHO Study: Alcohol Is International Number One Killer, AIDS Second MedicalNewsToday.com. 2011
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SOURCE Linda Burlison