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October 10, 2007

Medications to Treat Alcohol Dependence: Adding to the Continuum of Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

JAMA. 2007;298(14):1691-1692. doi:10.1001/jama.298.14.1691

The most prevalent form of treatment for alcohol dependence in the United States is group counseling and referral to community support groups, a treatment that was developed more than 30 years ago.1 At that time, the only medication available to prevent relapse was disulfiram, which has limited efficacy and patient acceptability. Since that time, acamprosate and naltrexone have been approved for the treatment of alcohol dependence, the latter in both oral and long-acting injectible forms. However, few physicians prescribe these drugs, and most treatment programs do not use them.2