Friday, September 19, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Rock doc: A new medication that may help people stay sober

By
From page A4 | January 03, 2014 |

Alcoholism runs in part of my family. I lost a grandfather to it, and a couple of others in the family have been affected by it to greater or lesser degrees. Perhaps something like that is true for you, or maybe you have a friend or coworker who wrestles with the malady.

This is a challenging time of year for alcoholics trying to stay sober. New Year’s Eve alone can be a real test.
But medical researchers are investigating new ways that doctors may be able to help people not drink. One method, recently written up by NPR’s “Shots” Website, is a medication called gabapentin. Gabapentin — the generic equivalent of the brand name drug Neurontin — has been used for years to treat a variety of ailments ranging from epilepsy to bipolar disease to fibromyalgia.
Recently researchers at the National Institutes of Health did a study of gabapentin and its effects on people with alcoholism. They enrolled 150 people in a 12-week experiment. Everyone who signed up to be part of the study got counseling. Some of the people in the study were given placebos, while others received either 900 or 1,800 milligrams of gabapentin daily.
The people taking the 1,800 milligram dose of the drug drank nothing during the study four times as often as the placebo group. And, if they did drink, they were more likely to refrain from heavy drinking. In other words, it looks like gabapentin helped — results that were recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Dr. Barbara J. Mason was the leader of the research effort. She thinks that gabapentin is useful to people with alcoholism who are trying to stay dry because it helps lessen some of the withdrawal symptoms people often encounter when they stop drinking.
“Gabapentin improved sleep and mood in people who were cutting down or quitting drinking,” Mason told NPR. Feelings of anxiety and losing sleep are often experiences that drive people to start drinking again, she said.
One good thing about gabapentin compared to some other medications is that it isn’t processed by the liver. That’s important because the livers of people with alcoholism are often damaged from years of drinking. Gabapentin moves from the stomach to the blood to the kidneys and finally into the urine, all mostly unchanged.
But there is still a long road to travel before gabapentin is considered by the Food and Drug Administration as a possible treatment for alcoholism. And even if the FDA took action today to approve gabapentin for such use, people who suffer from alcoholism would still have a tough row to hoe.
“It’s not magic,” Mason said. “And making big behavior changes is hard work.”
Still, it’s good to know researchers may be finding new ways to aid people with alcoholism in the struggle to stay sober.
Dr. E. Kirsten Peters, a native of the rural Northwest, was trained as a geologist at Princeton and Harvard. This column is a service of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. 

Comments

Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the MtDemocrat.com digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to MtDemocrat.com and start your online subscription

Help?

E. Kirsten Peters

.

News

 
Suspected arsonist nabbed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
King Fire briefing in Camino attracts a large crowd

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Arson arrest made in King Fire; Swansboro evacuated

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
GDPUD considers forming ag committee

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

G’town residents briefed on fire

By Michaela Johnson | From Page: A6

 
Help offered for dislocated workers

By News Release | From Page: A7

Scheduled breakfasts cancelled

By News Release | From Page: A7

 
Volunteers sheltering animal evacuees

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A8 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Something to think about: Not so fast lane

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

 
Rock doc: How hard is that?

By E. Kirsten Peters | From Page: A4

Invaluable donation

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Traffic jam

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Kid Obama vs. Little Bear Putin

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Lumber mills

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Society’s need for instant gratification

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Winds of war

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
.

Sports

On tap

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9

 
Lady Trojan harriers edge new league foes

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9

Ponderosa spikers prevail in 4

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
King Fire cancels Civil War

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9

Final nonleague games for some squads

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Bruins get split

By Mike Bush | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Roundup: Sept 17, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Prospecting

Roll out the barrels at Oktoberfest

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Enter an artful world

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Myra Cooper Holmes is enmeshed in her work

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Things to do: Sept. 19, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

Come out for EDH summer finale

By Julie Samrick | From Page: B3

 
Extraordinary Collections on display in Folsom

By Folsom History | From Page: B3

‘Spamalot’ auditions move to Vets Hall

By Imagination Theater | From Page: B3

 
See travel posters at Railroad Museum

By Railtown | From Page: B4

Placerville Clayworks launches new Website

By News Release | From Page: B4

 
Independent film in pre-production

By Left For Dead Productions | From Page: B4

Bands to play for peace

By Spiritual Center For Positive Living | From Page: B5

 
Apassionato—A toast to the arts

By El Dorado Arts Council | From Page: B5

Exhibition celebrates PPIE centennial

By Fine Arts | From Page: B5

 
Stunning acrobatic feats to wow audiences

By Harris Center for the Arts | From Page: B7

Learn pirate speak at Fairytale Town

By Fairytale Town | From Page: B12

 
Tall Ship to arrive in Sacramento

By Grays Harbor Historical Seaport | From Page: B12

Wining in downtown Amador City

By Amador City | From Page: B12

 
Run for Courage to raise funds for awareness

By Run For Courage | From Page: B12

Railtown celebrates working on the railroad

By Railtown | From Page: B12

 
.

Essentials

Lake levels 9-18-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime log: Sept. 4-5

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Jeanine Rae Henderson-Hodges funeral notice

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
William “Bill” V. Miller

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

Why buyers will either love or hate your home

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS2

 
Putting a sense of place in your space

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

.

Home Source

Why buyers will either love or hate your home

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS2

Putting a sense of place in your space

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS4