Drug for alcoholism curbs gambling urge

June 14th, 2008 - 3:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 14 (IANS) A drug found effective in alcohol addiction also curbs the urge to gamble, according to a study. Seventyseven people participated in the double-blind, placebo controlled study. Fiftyeight men and women took 50, 100 or 150 milligrams of naltrexone every day for 18 weeks.

Forty percent of the 49 participants who took the drug and completed the study quit gambling for at least one month. Their urge to gamble also significantly dropped in intensity and frequency.

The other 19 participants took a placebo. But only 10.5 percent of those who took the placebo were able to abstain from gambling. Study participants were aged between 18 and 75 and reported gambling for 6 to 32 hours each week.

Dosage did not have an impact on the results, naltrexone was generally well tolerated, and men and women reported similar results.

“This is good news for people who have a gambling problem,” said Jon Grant of University of Minnesota and principal investigator of the study. “This is the first time people have a proven medication that can help them get their behaviour under control.”

The research has been published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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