Journal of Gambling Studies 7: Pharmacological Pharmacotherapy is a relatively new approach to the treatment of pathological gambling.
A pill commonly used to treat alcoholism and drug addiction may be able to help people overcome compulsive gambling, a new University of Minnesota study has found. Researchers showed that the drug naltrexone, which the Food and Drug Administration approved for alcoholism in and for drug addiction inwas able to reduce gambling urges in almost 75 percent of the 20 people in the study.
Those people who received a placebo only cut their gambling urges by 24 percent. Suck Wong Kim, director of best impulse control disorder clinic at the University of Minnesota. Kim believes the drug can help people who gamble because it suppresses the "rush or a high" they usually got from playing and winning. Naltrexone, commercially distributed by E. Study participant Leo Neudecker, 56, of Plymouth, Minn. Neudecker said gambling never caused any serious financial ruin for his family, but he was concerned enough to get help.
Taking the drug, he says, reduced his desire to gamble. But problems will face gamblers who may want to take this drug, pathological gambling currently is in clinical trials. Also, the dosage is higher than that recommended for alcoholism and may be lead to liver problems and bad interactions with over-the-counter pain relievers. Less than 5 percent of Americans develop serious gambling problems, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling in Washington, D.
But the cost of treating this treatment for nationwide is billions of dollars. The habit is not easily treated, and many sufferers will lose their savings, homes and sometimes will commit suicide. Programs such as Gamblers' Anonymous have shown success rates as low as 8 percent. A drug such as naltrexone, therefore, could make a substantial impact on the treatment of this condition.
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