New Pill Could Help Alcoholics Kick The Habit

There's a new option for people suffering from alcoholism. The makers of a new drug called Campral say it's the first new drug to treat alcohol dependence in almost ten years. It's designed to work by restoring an imbalance in the brain caused by alcohol dependence. It could be one more way for doctors to treat patients trying to overcome alcoholism.

Approved by the federal government this past summer, the drug is now available. Vallie Cross, a counselor at the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of East Texas thinks the new drug shows some promise.

"There's not a whole lot of information about how this new drug works, or why it works. I think when we know more about that the better able we'll be able to help people make decisions about whether they want to take it or not. But the results are very promising because it's hard in our field to get long term positive results, and they seem to have that with this drug. Unfortunately, problems go along with alcoholism and that's what people have to contend with when they come with us also. It's not going to be an easy fix no matter what."

Just as with people trying to lose weight, Campral, or any other drug isn't a miracle pill.

"There's not going to be a pill that's going to make it to where you're not an alcoholic any longer, or that your not a drug addict, and this is going to fix everything for you. But that's not to say that it's not very promising." says Cross.

Pharmacist Norman Bondesen says he doesn't see many prescriptions come through his pharmacy for drugs to treat alcoholism, but for those who do take them they have to want to quit drinking.

"I think they're effective but they have to be used properly, and I don't know if people are really willing to use them properly to make it work well. I just don't know the percentage of people who are successful with it."

East Texas doctors we tried to talk with about Campral told us the drug is still so new, they don't know that much about it yet.

The makers of the drug agree that the pill alone probably isn't going to cure alcoholism. They say the drug should be a part of a program that includes psycho-social support.