Can Alcoholics Be Treated With Asthma Medication?

There have been a lot of social media buzz over reports from Japan that an asthma drug called ibudilast helps alcoholics beat their addiction. A UCLA study seemed to confirm the finding, but only 17 men and 7 women participated in the study. Although this is a promising start, more studies on ibudilast need to be done in order to determine if it is a safe treatment for alcoholics. Side effects from ibudilast include upset stomach and abdominal pain.

How Ibudilast Is Supposed to Help

It is not entirely sure how ibudilast helps alcoholics reduce their pleasure in drinking. The UCLA study suggested that people taking ibudilast were able to quickly rebound from stressful situations so that they did not need a drink as a coping mechanism. It is thought that the drug interferes with the body’s natural responses to drugs like morphine or alcohol, making the “high” less of a “high” than without ibudilast. A second test, this time done with long-time alcoholics, is being planned. The UCLA study was done with people who drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day for 21 days out of a month. These are not exactly problem alcoholics.

There is No One Alcoholism Cure

There has been headlines before trumpeting this or that drug that worked well for alcoholic mice and rats. However, all of these drugs caused serious health problems in humans. It could be that ibudilast may fall into the same trap. Although people share many genes and health problems with mice and rats, they still are not mice and rats. Even if ibudilast helps alcoholics in the future, it still does not cure the cause of alcoholism. There are as many different causes of alcoholism as there are alcoholics.

Therapy and Rehab Are Still Necessary

People who volunteer for alcoholism drugs often do so because they have a driving desire to quit. However, not all alcoholics want to quit. This is where therapy and rehab come in. The addict cannot be helped unless the causes for that individual drinker are identified and addressed. The addict learns other ways to cope with stress other than by drinking. Talk to doctors to learn more about alcohol rehab in the addict’s area and what therapy options are available.