A commonly used antihypertensive drug once studied for the use of treating post-traumatic stress disorder could also be effective for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, a new study by Yale University determined.
According to their new findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the drug prazosin, used for the treatment of high blood pressure, may reduce the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, which includes heightened cravings of alcohol, tremors, anxiety, and insomnia.
For the study, 100 participants with alcoholism were either administered the drug prazosin or a placebo. The participants exhibited symptoms of alcohol withdrawal as they were given either option of treatment for their condition.
By the end of the study, prazosin, consumed three times per day, was shown to drastically lessen the number of binge-drinking episodes among the patients in comparison to the other group.
“The findings indicate that alcohol withdrawal symptoms are a significant moderator of prazosin treatment response for alcohol use outcomes and for associated symptoms of alcohol craving, anxiety, and mood symptoms,” the results of the study read.
“These data support further evaluation of alcohol withdrawal symptoms as a prognostic indicator of prazosin’s efficacy in the treatment of alcohol use disorder.”
Given the lack of effective readily available treatments for severe withdrawal symptoms, the findings are promising and provide a new glimpse of hope for patients dealing with alcoholism.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.