Varenicline For Alcohol Dependence – Recent Study Suggests it Reduces Heavy Drinking

Varenicline For Alcohol Dependence
Varenicline For Alcohol Dependence

Varenicline, known better as Chantix (a medication used to battle nicotine addiction), is an FDA-approved medication that may also be effective at treating alcohol abuse disorders (AUD), as the study’s results suggest.  According to the results of a recently study published in JAMA Psychiatry, Stephanie S. O’Malley, the director of the “Division of Substance Abuse Research in Psychiatry” from the “Yale School of Medicine” stated that “Men appeared to derive benefit from Varenicline for alcohol dependence, compared with placebo, on measures of heavy drinking, whereas women did better taking placebo”.

Benefits of Varenicline for Heavy Drinking Addiction
Benefits of Varenicline for Heavy Drinking Addiction

Essentially, it was determined that men suffering from alcohol dependency responded better to the use of Varenicline compared to that of Placebo.

There was a placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted at two outpatient clinics located in NYC and New Haven, CT which took place between September 19, 2012-August 31st 2015.  During the study, researchers brought in both men and women between the ages of 18-70 that were currently seeking AUD treatment.  Men participating in the program reported having 5+ alcohol drinks per week while women having 4+ weekly drinks.  Participants were also smokers.

During the study, O’Malley and fellow researches administered either 2mg of Varenicline or 2mg of placebo to a total of 131 patients for a period of 16 weeks.  Medication was measured and administered by 0.5 mg daily for 3 days, 0.5 mg twice per day for 4 days, and 1 mg two times per day for the remaining about of time of treatment.

The results of the study were a bit surprising.  In comparison to placebo, the Varenicline caused a decrease in the number of days in which the men drank alcohol and reduced the percentage of how many times women drank weekly.  Keeping in mind that none of the patients received any form of counseling for the treatment of nicotine addiction – Varenicline also increased smoking abstinence by 13% compared to the 0% by placebo (no participants were non-smokers).

Patients are happy after using Varenicline medication
Patients are happy after using Varenicline medication

This study emerged new results that certainly contributes to the growing body of research and evidence that’s learning more about how Varenicline can be used to treat substance abuse disorders.  These results are nothing short of exciting for researches and take us one step closer to finding a new solution to treat AUD any similarly related disorders.