A Pill For Alcoholism
Â Â Â Â There was a time in Christine Flemming's life when alcohol came before her kids.
"I can't remember when my daughter was very little because I was drinking so much and that, to me, affected me a lot and that's really hard for me."
Â Â Â Christine needed help but traditional treatment methods didn't work. Now she's on a new kind of therapy in the form of a pill called Topiramate. She says it's changed her life.
Â Â Â Â "I can tell you that it cuts my cravings and I don't feel like I have to drink. I don't feel like that's something I need in my life and I have to do."
Â Â Â Alcohol increases levels of Dopamine, a chemical in the brain that makes us feel good. The drug works by blocking the right amount of the feel-good effects from alcohol to reduce cravings and help stop heavy drinking.Â During clinical trials, Neuropharmacologists were surprised to learn it also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which may lead to a decrease in heart disease in alcohol dependent patients.
Â Â Â Bankhole Johnson, PhD Neuropharmacologist University of Virginia Charlottesville says most of the morbidity due to alcoholism is caused by secondary effects of all these other systems; so to have a drug that begins to correct all those other physical abnormalities is extremely helpful.
Â Â Â The drug helped improve Christine's health and end her dependence on alcohol. She cut her drinking from 15 beers a day to just three, so time with her kids is now a priority.
"It's made a big difference. It's made a really big difference, and I feel like I'm actually there for my family."
Â Â Â Â Qualifying patients can find out how to receive the drug by contacting their primary care doctors.
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