Will This Pill Help Curb Binge Drinking?


Drinking alcohol every once in a while is not a bad idea. However, for many people, a cup or bottle of alcohol may lead to several others until they engage in an intense binging session. Therefore, this has posed a significant problem for such people, especially in social gatherings. However, there may be a cure for such drinking habits. 

According to the studies, naltrexone —a drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA)— has been noted to aid in curbing binge drinking. The decades-old medication has been previously used in treating alcoholic disorders. Still, in light of recent research, you can also take the drug before social gatherings to curb binge drinking. 

Glenn-Milo Santos, Ph.D MPH —a substance use researcher and professor at the University of California San Francisco— stated that drug use could be an essential tool in cutting down the dependency and use of alcohol by alcoholics.  

Tests Involving Naltrexone 

Researchers in a study —conducted and published in the December 2022 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry— asked about 120 men proven to suffer from mild to moderate alcohol use disorder to take a pill whenever they felt a craving to drink. Half of these participants —who were willing to cut back on their binge drinking sessions— were randomly selected to receive naltrexone whenever it was needed. The other half of the participants were given a placebo. Finally, all the participants were granted weekly counseling to aid in curbing their alcohol disorder. 

After three months of continuous treatment, the participants on naltrexone medication who took the drug whenever they felt they needed it– showed they had fewer cravings for alcohol. These participants also showed that they had fewer total days of binging and fewer total drinks per month. Six months later, those that used naltrexone showed more significant improvements in their disorder, having fewer binge-drinking days than those placed on a placebo.

Recommended Use of Naltrexone 

According to Glenn-Milo Santos, increased awareness of the efficacy of naltrexone will be beneficial for the global community, even though the drug may not be suitable for all alcohol dependents. Further, it has been indicated that taking naltrexone on an “as-needed basis” may be more tolerable, as against taking such medication daily, because using it this way helps the dopamine levels recover properly in between the use of the medication. 

Finally, experts are of the opinion that using pills to curb alcohol intake allows patients to feel in control of their treatment. In Europe, people have widely adopted this method after regulators approved using nalmefene for people that want to drink less alcohol.