Medications for Alcoholism Treatment

It is becoming more and more common for replacement therapy medication to be prescribed for people who have been diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (i.e. alcoholism).

Benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonipin), alprozolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium) are most commonly prescribed to help people to safely detox from alcohol. They are very effective for detox as they alleviate some of the most severe symptoms that can arise while detoxing from alcohol including seizures, violent shaking and hallucinations.

Post detox many treatment programs are now prescribing medications to treat what they call the disease of alcoholism. These medications are said to reduce cravings and help people to stay abstinent from alcohol, although outcome studies have failed to show they are more effective than placebo.
Here are few medications that may be prescribed for that purpose: Disulfiram, Campral, Naltrexone, Topamax, Antabuse, Vivitrol, Suboxone, Subutex, and Methadone.

Disulfiram and Antabuse

Disulfiram, also known as Antabuse, was created specifically to treat alcoholism. It is said to work by preventing the body from processing alcohol. Taking this drug and then consuming alcohol will lead to a highly negative physical reaction (i.e. vomiting).

Campral and Acamprosate

A medication sometimes used for alcoholism treatment, Campral, is also known as Acamprosate. On the label is a serious warning that it should not be taken with alcohol. It specifically states that one must be abstinent to take the drug, and also states that the drug is to help people who have a serious drinking problem, and are unable to stop drinking and/or control their drinking.

Naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol)

Gaining in popularity in recent years, naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol), has also been used to treat alcoholism as well as opioid addiction. This medication is said to work by staving off cravings for alcohol and opioids. The warning label advises that this medication cannot be taken by individuals who are actively drinking or using opioids, or have liver disease or liver problems. Doctors recommend a full liver panel screening before naltrexone is given to patient to prevent further complications.


Developed to be used as a seizure preventative in epilepsy, Topamax has an additional benefit of preventing migraine headaches and has been used as a medication for alcoholism treatment to help control withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. However, Topamax can cause kidney stones and other complications.


Methadone is most commonly prescribed as long term replacement therapy for opioid addiction but can also be prescribed for alcoholism treatment. The use of Methadone is often criticized because of a higher risk of overdose and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing use. In addition, Methadone can cause respiratory problems, heart rate problems, and death.

Subutex and Suboxone

Subutex and Suboxone have been used primarily for replacement therapy for opioid addiction; however it is now being prescribed for alcoholism treatment as well. These drugs do reduce withdrawal symptoms in people detoxing from opioid use, but without a long taper or step down from the drug, those discontinuing use may experience severe withdrawal symptoms..


Used primarily in the treatment of bipolar disorder, Serax is also prescribed to relieve withdrawal symptoms that often accompany alcohol detox especially depression, confusion, hallucinations and anxiety. As it is a benzodiapine, stopping use of Serax may cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms as well.

A Safe and Effective Alternative

Alcohol and drug detox is a physiological process that may or may not require medical supervision and a stay at a hospital or medical detoxification facility. Detoxification from substances such as alcohol, opiates and benzodiapines can take from 3 to 14 days depending on the substance used, the frequency of use and the amount being used. Once the detox process is complete, The Freedom Model for Addictions offered exclusively at The Saint Jude Retreat is a safe and highly effective alternative to taking long term replacement therapy medications.  Unlike replacement therapy medications, The Freedom Model for Addictions has been shown to be highly effective based on 30 years of research and outcome studies. Our knowledgeable and caring staff can help you find a safe detox facility that can accommodate your needs and help you detox from alcohol.

Call 888-424-2626 to find out how you can reserve your room at The Saint Jude Retreat, and put your alcohol problems behind you forever.


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