Recent studies (February 2014) have shown the anticonvulsant topiramate (Topamax) to be promising in helping heavy drinkers consume less alcohol. It is believed that topiramate decreases the desire to drink, perhaps by reducing the neurochemical surge that alcoholics get when they consume a drink.

Topiramate Research

Topiramate is primarily used to treat seizures and prevent migraines.  It is sometimes used in rehab centers for people who are seizure-prone and are going through alcohol withdrawal. Topiramate may also reduce cravings for alcohol in alcohol-dependent people. Current research has shown that topiramate works better than placebo medicines to decrease alcohol use and to increase the amount of time in which a person does not drink.  There may be a genetic factor that affects topiramate’s efficacy in treating AUD within specific groups. A meta-analysis (June 2014) of seven randomized controlled trials, which included 1,125 people, found that topiramate was useful in helping people with AUD to stay abstinent.  It is too early to know exactly how effective topiramate might be. More studies are underway.

Topiramate has not yet been approved for treating alcohol-use disorder by the FDA.

More research is needed to prove topiramate’s efficacy in treating alcohol-use disorder.

Learn more: About.com/Alcoholism: Topamax

Medscape: Topiramate in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders

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