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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Study: Topamax Curbs Heavy Drinking

Topiramate
Topiramate
In 2010, the anti-epilepsy drug maker Ortho-McNeil-Janssen was ordered to pay a hefty sum to the state of Florida for essentially selling the drug Topamax (topiramate) to treat problems for which it had not been tested. Now, four years later, a new study suggests that Topamax actually may help heavy drinkers reduce their alcohol consumption after all, according to HealthDay.

A 12-week study was conducted by researchers at the Penn Center for Studies of Addiction, which included 138 heavy drinkers. Half of the participants took a placebo and the other took the maximum dose of Topamax (200 mg/day). Brief counseling was provided to both test groups in order to help reduce drinking.

The placebo group participants were found to be five times more likely to have drank heavily during the twelve week period. Conversely, more than twice as many patients who were given Topamax did not drink heavily in the last four weeks of the study. The study's lead author, University of Pennsylvania’s director of Penn’s Center for Studies of Addiction, Professor Henry R. Kranzler, MD, said in a press release that he believes that the findings indicate the next step in understanding and treating problem drinking.

“Our study is the first we are aware of in which topiramate was evaluated as a treatment option for patients who want to limit their drinking to safe levels, rather than stop drinking altogether.”
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