Call to use meds for alcohol abuse
In a meta-analysis of 123 studies looking at the effectiveness of medications to treat alcohol-use disorders, researchers from the University of North Carolina found that the number needed to treat (NNT) to prevent a return to drinking was 12 for acamprosate and 20 for oral naltrexone. The NNT to prevent a return to heavy drinking was 12 for naltrexone. Head-to-head trials have not established superiority of either medication, according to the study.
For injectable naltrexone, the authors did not find an association with return to any drinking or heavy drinking, but found an association with reduction in heavy drinking days.
Acamprosate (Campral, Alphapharm) and naltrexone are currently the only PBS-listed medications for alcohol dependence. Addiction experts have campaigned for the TGA-approved disulfiram (Antabuse, Orphan Australia), one of the earliest pharmacological interventions, to be added to the PBS due to its