Migraine drug may help treat alcholism

CHICAGO – A migraine pill seems to help alcoholics taper off their drinking without detox treatment, researchers report, offering a potential option for a hard-to-treat problem.

The drug, Topamax, works in a different way than three other medications already approved for treating alcoholism.

Experts said the drug is likely to appeal to heavy drinkers who would rather seek help from their own doctors, rather than enter a rehab clinic to dry out. The drug costs at least $350 a month, plus the price of doctor’s visits.

But side effects are a problem, and it’s unclear whether the findings will make a dent in an addiction that affects millions of Americans.

Addiction specialists not involved in the study said the findings are promising, although side effects such as trouble concentrating, tingling and itching caused about one in five people to drop out of the study.