According to a recent study, a drug already available on the market may be able to aid those who binge drink.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the drug naltrexone has previously been given approval by the FDA to treat alcohol use disorder.
Naltrexone is an oral medication meant to be taken daily and can help reduce the quantity of alcohol ingested, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The CDC says that binge drinking is a “pattern of alcohol drinking that brings one’s blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 grams percent or more.”
According to the CDC, that usually means having 5 or more drinks for the male population and 4 drinks for women in just 2 hours.
The New York Times was the source for the initial news of the new study, which focused on young men who took the pill an hour before they intended to drink.
The participants received instructions on lowering alcohol consumption in addition to the drug.
After 12 weeks, those who received naltrexone before drinking reported doing so less frequently than those who only got a placebo.
The study authors noted that those who took naltrexone enjoyed its positive effects for up to six months.
According to SAMHSA, the drug is efficient because it’s able to block the “effects and feelings of alcohol,” by binding endorphin receptors in the body.
On its official website, the agency explains that “Naltrexone reduces alcohol cravings as well as the amount of alcohol consumed.”
It goes on to add that in the case of alcohol use disorder, the treatment usually lasts for about 3 to 4 months.
“Once a patient no longer drinks, taking naltrexone helps patients maintain their sobriety.”
This study on naltrexone’s potential to reduce binge drinking coincides with a rise in alcohol use in the United States.
According to CDC data, binge drinking increases are particularly noticeable among adults 35 and older, as well as those with lower educational levels and income.
More precisely, the CDC noted that approximately one in six U.S. citizens binge drink 4 to 7 drinks, adding that men binge drink twice as frequently as women.
According to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a constant quantity of alcohol over a short period of time affects your body differently than, consuming one glass of wine every night for a week, for instance.
Seven servings or fewer of alcohol are considered to be a moderate weekly alcohol intake for women. The CDC states that the limit for men is 14 servings of alcohol or fewer every week.
A serving of alcohol is considered to be no more than 5 ounces of wine or 1 and a half ounces of hard liquor, which is much less than what is generally provided in pubs, restaurants, and even during at-home drinking.
Emergency medicine physician Dr. Darien Sutton, advised people who are worried about their alcohol to talk to a medical expert: “The first step is acknowledging to yourself you might have a problem. Talk to your physician about symptoms so you can get a proper gauge on what the issues are and the other possible treatments.”