3 FDA-Approved Medications That Help Recovering Alcoholics Stay Sober

Alcoholism is a common problem in the United States. And while many people suffering from alcohol addiction know how dangerous it is, many also find it hard to quit drinking. That’s why so many people relapse when they try to break free.


But did you know there are FDA-approved prescription medications that can help recovering alcoholics stay sober? These medications can help reduce cravings for alcohol and minimize withdrawal symptoms. But research estimates that fewer than 10% of people who could benefit from these medications take them.

At Pain Solvers in Pleasant Hill and San Francisco, California, you’ll find comprehensive alcohol cessation plans tailored to you. Paul Sandhu, MD, and our team have a deep understanding of the science behind addiction, and we’re here to help you succeed if you’re ready to start your recovery journey.

Medication to support recovering alcoholics

Dr. Sandhu takes pride in helping men and women recover from alcoholism successfully. He takes the time to understand his patients’ habits, medical history, and goals, and he uses the information to develop appropriate recovery plans. 

Alcoholism may not have a cure, but you can navigate withdrawal symptoms and side effects as you recover. To this end, there are three FDA-approved medications that can decrease alcohol cravings and minimize withdrawal symptoms. 


Acamprosate was approved by the FDA to treat alcoholism in 2004. It targets the negative side effects that come along with reducing alcohol consumption if you’re dependent on alcohol. 

Acamprosate helps normalize brain chemistry if you’ve been addicted to alcohol for a long time. It quiets nerve cells to control withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia, which are common in people who are recovering from alcoholism.


In 1951, disulfiram was the first medication the FDA approved to treat alcoholism. It can reduce your desire for alcohol, because it changes the way your body processes it. 

Drinking alcohol while you’re taking disulfiram makes you sick. You might experience nausea, vomiting, headaches, or sweating. The negative side effects can work to reduce your desire to drink. 


Naltrexone was approved as an oral medication for alcohol cessation in 1994 and as an injectable treatment in 2006. Naltrexone breaks the connection between alcohol and pleasure sensations.

Naltrexone can effectively reduce cravings for alcohol, because it blocks the opioid receptors associated with the feelings of reward and pleasure. If you drink alcohol while you’re taking naltrexone, you can get drunk, but you won’t feel the pleasant effects of being drunk.

Medication combined with other alcohol cessation therapies can help you stay sober when you’re recovering from alcohol addition. To learn more about how we can help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Pain Solvers today.

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