During alcohol detox, there are essential medications your doctor may prescribe for you to feel better. You’re to use most of these medications under close medical supervision. But if you’re using the drug from your home, obey the instructions of your doctor to the latter. Take the right dosage, and ensure you don’t exceed or take less.

Failure to obey some of these rules when taking such medications can be fatal. This article contains information about safe medication for alcohol detox. It also provides the necessary guidance to follow when taking such medications.

Common Medications for Alcohol Withdrawal

Medical experts use certain medications to control withdrawal symptoms when treating alcohol addiction. See a list of these medications and how they manage withdrawal symptoms for alcohol detox below.

Acamprosate

During the alcohol detox stage, acamprosate is one of the medications medical experts prescribe for alcohol withdrawal. Acamprosate comes in handy with counselling and social support to help people curb their alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol intake alters the way the brain functions. As a result, the brain now depends on alcohol for it to function properly.

Medical professionals prescribe acamprosate in such situations to restore the brain’s natural way of functioning. However, acamprosate doesn’t avoid withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox. Also, it doesn’t work on people that still drink alcohol heavily.

Acamprosate comes as a delayed-release tablet to take by mouth; the normal swallow procedure. You can take it with or without food three times daily. But it’s always advisable to eat before taking any medication. A good way to help you remember your medication is by taking it immediately after meals.

Acamprosate helps avoid you from drinking alcohol during the withdrawal stage. It’ll cause you to have a terrible reaction if you take alcohol when receiving treatment. Make sure you consult the doctor before you stop taking acamprosate or if you experience any side effects.

Antiadrenergic Agents

Antiadrenergic agents are drugs that inhibit the activity of catecholamine or norepinephrine (NE) during alcohol detox. Majorly, there are two types of adrenergic receptors including the alpha and beta receptors. Then there are several subtypes under the two main types of adrenergic receptors.

Antiadrenergic drugs have specifications for the different receptors. The major ones include selective beta-1 receptor blockers, nonselective beta-blockers, mixed alpha- and beta-blockers.

Anticonvulsants

You can also refer to anticonvulsants as antiepileptic or antiseizure drugs. Medical professionals prescribe anticonvulsants to treat disorders since they act as mood stabilizers. Anticonvulsants also help in treating neuropathic pains. They subdue the excessive rapid firing of neurons during seizures. Medical professionals prescribe anticonvulsants during alcohol detox to manage side effects.

Anticonvulsants are important medications for alcohol detox to curb withdrawal symptoms including seizures within the brain. Examples of anticonvulsants include Depakote Tegretol, Phenobarbital, Levetiracetam, and Clonazepam (Klonopin). Refer to your doctor’s prescription for the right dosage

Antidepressants

As the name suggests, antidepressants are medications that combat depression, social anxiety, and other types of anxiety disorder. Antidepressants work to balance some natural chemicals in the brain that are responsible for mood changes. This drug may take weeks for full effect. Your doctor may suggest a few before discovering which one works perfectly for you.

You need to note that antidepressants may cause temporary side effects. Some of these side effects include headache, nausea, sexual problems, restlessness, and sleep problems. Doctors may prescribe such medications for you during alcohol detox because depression is a withdrawal symptom. Some examples of antidepressants include Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa, and Prozac.

When using such drugs, it’s important to alert your doctor if you notice any side effects. Also, call your doctor’s attention if you’re taking other medicines like herbal supplements or vitamins.

Anti-nausea Medications

Feeling nauseous is one of the withdrawal symptoms you’ll likely experience during alcohol detox. Fortunately, there are medications your doctor can prescribe for you during alcohol detox. Such medications function by blocking the neurotransmitters that signal the brain about nausea.

When you use medication to block nauseous signals from getting to the brain, it prevents you from feeling nauseous. Examples of anti-nausea or antiemetic drugs include dexamethasone, droperidol, granisetron, metoclopramide, and ondansetron. Ensure that you get a prescription from your doctor before getting such medications.

Some of the side effects you may come across when using antiemetics include dry mouth and nose, dizziness, indigestion, loss of appetite, etc. Do well to inform your doctor if you observe any side effects when using antidepressants.

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics are essential medications you can use to treat alcohol withdrawal. Certain patients have a synchronous case of psychiatric disorder during alcohol detox. It causes the medical expert in charge to prescribe antipsychotic medication.

Such medications help to combat psychotic symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, schizophrenia, dementia, among many others. However, it doesn’t cure psychosis. When using antipsychotics, you may notice side effects like blurred vision, tremors, weight gain, drowsiness, etc. Some examples of antipsychotic medications to use for alcohol detox include Risperdal, Abilify, Seroquel, and Clorazil.

For Clozaril, note that you’re not to use it every time because of its potentially fatal side effect. You also need to note that antipsychotics may reduce the seizure threshold, causing  you to be prone to seizures. It means that you need to take such drugs under close medical supervision to prevent health hazards.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine or tranquilizer is a critical medication to use for alcohol detox. This type of medication treats anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detox. Benzodiazepines function by altering the activity of the neurons that trigger anxiety reactions and stress.

During alcohol detox, overstimulation sometimes occurs in the brain due to the sensitivity of the process. After taking benzodiazepines, the brain will send counteractive signals(GABA) to disrupt the overstimulation. Such activity reduces the symptoms of anxiety.

There are different types of benzodiazepines and they include, alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, diazepam, flurazepam, clonazepam, lorazepam, and temazepam. You may also experience some side effects like confusion, drowsiness, zero coordination, dizziness, depression, etc. The different types of benzodiazepine all serve specific purposes. Ensure that you get a prescription from your doctor before taking such medications. Also, take benzodiazepines under close medical supervision.

Buprenorphine

buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is one of the drugs you can take to help you with alcohol detox. Doctors prescribe buprenorphine when treating alcohol use disorder (AUD), chronic and acute pain. Your doctor will mostly prescribe this drug when withdrawal symptoms start within two days of treatment.

Before starting buprenorphine, you have to wait long enough after the last intake of alcohol. If you take it soon, it can precipitate an acute withdrawal. Buprenorphine helps diminish the effects of physical alcohol dependence. Your doctor will be in place to guide you on how best to use this medication.

Sometimes, your doctor may prescribe buprenorphine as a standalone medication or as part of similar ones in different formulations. For instance, your doctor may prescribe Zubsolv, a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine or Sublocade, an extended-release injection. Both of them consist of buprenorphine.

Disulfiram

Disulfiram is a compound that doctors prescribe when treating alcohol use disorder. It’s a medication that makes alcohol intake have unpleasant after-effects, especially during alcohol detox. This medication treats persistent alcoholism. However, you’re never to take disulfiram when you’re drunk. You’re to take it at least 12 hours after alcohol intake. You may notice some reactions after 14 days of quitting the use of disulfiram.

Disulfiram has several side effects including, headache, vomiting, anxiety, chest pain, weakness, blurred vision, sweating, etc. These effects start to manifest ten minutes after alcohol intake and may last for over an hour. Also, note that disulfiram isn’t a cure for alcoholism. It only discourages drinking alcohol.

Always follow your doctor’s prescription when you’re about to take disulfiram. But generally, you’re to take it once a day. If you find it difficult to swallow the drug, you can crush it and mix it with water, fruit juice, coffee, tea or soft drink.

If you skip a dose, you can take it immediately you remember. If it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one, and continue with the dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for the one you skipped because it may be fatal.

Methadone

Methadone is one of the drugs that doctors prescribe during alcohol detox. It serves as a remedy for pain management and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for patients during alcohol detox.

When you take methadone according to your doctor’s prescription, it can help you reclaim an active and meaningful life. Methadone functions by blocking the effects of alcohol, and it’s available in liquid, diskettes, and powder forms.

Before receiving methadone, ensure that you share your complete history with the doctor for your safety. When methadone interrelates with other medications, you’re at risk of heart conditions. Active ingredients of methadone remain in your body even after the effects wear off, leading to unintentional overdose. Hence, the need to be honest about your health record with your healthcare provider. See the following tips to guide you when taking methadone:

  • Don’t take alcohol while using methadone
  • Be careful when operating machinery or driving after using methadone
  • Store methadone away from light and at room temperature
  • Call for help if you suspect any case of methadone overdose
  • Keep your children away from methadone

Modafinil

Modafinil is a medication for treating excessive sleepiness as a result of narcolepsy. It works by altering the quantity of certain natural substances in the part of the brain controlling sleep and weakness.

Doctors sometimes prescribe this medication during alcohol detox to combat excessive sleep and weakness. You can use a modafinil tablet by mouth, and you have to take it once a day.

Note that you have to be consistent in taking your dosage. Don’t change the set time for taking modafinil without first talking to your doctor. Also, modafinil may cause you to be dependent on it. Instead of taking a larger dose, it’s better to take it for a longer period to avoid complications.

Naltrexone

Doctors prescribe naltrexone alongside social support and counselling for people who already quit alcohol intake. It’s not suitable for individuals still drinking alcohol excessively. Naltrexone works by reducing the craving for alcohol while blocking the effects of alcohol in the brain.

Naltrexone is a tablet that you’re to take by mouth whether you’re at home or in a clinic. If you’re at home, you can take naltrexone once a day after eating. But when you’re taking naltrexone at the treatment center, you may not take it every day. However, you’re to follow your doctor’s instructions on the dosage and timing.

Naltrexone only helps in avoiding the use of alcohol. But it won’t prevent the withdrawal symptoms that may arise when you stop taking alcohol. Don’t take naltrexone if you recently quit alcohol and you’re currently experiencing withdrawal symptoms. There are lots of programs online to help you get the right treatment and medication during alcohol detox. Medications and withdrawal symptoms aren’t topics to joke with as they are potentially fatal.

Suboxone

When treating addiction, your doctor may prescribe suboxone medication during alcohol detox. It’s a combination of the ingredients for naloxone and buprenorphine. Buprenorphine blocks the opiate receptors and limits the person’s urge to take alcohol. While the second one, naloxone, helps to reverse the effects of alcohol intake.

This medication is essential during alcohol detox due to the major role it plays. The combination of buprenorphine and naloxone works to prevent withdrawal symptoms of alcohol addiction. However, you must get a prescription from a licensed medical professional before gaining access to suboxone.

Final Thoughts

It’s essential to obey your doctor or physician’s instructions on medication during alcohol detox for your safety. You need to use these drugs rightly for them to provide the results you desire. If you use these drugs carelessly, it may cause health complications that may lead to death.

You can check out our medical detox programs to guide you through alcohol detox and treatment. The key to effectively treating alcohol addiction is acting early. Reach out to Medical Detox Ontario today!

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