Medications commonly used for the treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence include:
• Acamprosate (Campral). This is a medication used to decrease craving in people with alcohol dependence and abuse. It can be continued even in the event of a relapse, and is typically taken three times a day. It is begun after the person has stopped drinking.
• Disulfiram (Antabuse). This is a medication for people who are highly motivated to maintain total sobriety. If someone drinks while taking Antabuse, she will become violently ill. It should not be given to people with significant heart conditions. It works by preventing the breakdown of an important metabolite of alcohol. As this substance, acetaldehyde, builds up a person will become increasingly sick. There are a number of medications with which disulfiram interacts, and it’s recommended that people on this medication wear a Medical Alert bracelet.
• Naltrexone (Revia, Vivitrol). This is used to diminish craving and alcohol consumption in people with alcohol dependence. It comes in both pill form (Revia) and a long-acting (once every four weeks) injectible form (Vivitrol).