Epilepsy drug proves positive in alcoholism trial

Researchers at the University of Virginia say that an epilepsy drug--topiramate--can reduce alcoholics' craving for a drink as well as promote their overall health. The research team mounted a trial of 371 volunteers and found that the topiramate group had fewer obsessive thoughts about drinking over the 14-week course of treatment. At the same time, the group experienced lower weight and improved cholesterol and blood pressure rates. Levels of liver enzymes, a precursor to cirrhosis--also declined.

"There are other drugs which were originally developed to prevent epileptic seizures which have also shown promise in reducing relapse in alcoholism, but topiramate is so far the most convincing," Dr. Jonathan Chick told the BBC.

In a separate stuffy, researchers noted that the brain protein GDNF also appeared to reduce cravings in an animal study. Once treated, the rats in the study were also less likely to go back to drinking following animal ‘rehab.'

- read the BBC article