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SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
September/October 2009, Volume 17, Number 5 

TIP 49: Treating Alcohol Use Disorders with Medication

People with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) now have more options in seeking help. A new resource from SAMHSA provides clinical guidelines for the proper use of medications in the treatment of AUDs.

Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 49, Incorporating Alcohol Pharmacotherapies Into Medical Practice, provides the basic information, evidence- and consensus-based guidelines, tools, and resources necessary to help health care providers treat patients with AUDs.

Cover of TIP 49—click to view publication

TIP 49 is intended for use by physicians and other health care providers who can prescribe and administer medications for AUDs, in either specialty substance abuse treatment programs or primary care offices.

Because health care providers are in key positions to manage the care of large numbers of patients with AUDs, this TIP offers specific information about the different medications available for treatment.

Medications

A chapter is devoted to each of the following medications, which have been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration:

  • Acamprosate is thought to help modulate and normalize alcohol-related changes in brain activity, reducing symptoms of protracted withdrawal (e.g., disturbances in sleep and mood) that may trigger a relapse.
  • Disulfiram causes an acutely toxic physical reaction when mixed with alcohol, which is thought to increase the patient’s motivation to remain abstinent.
  • Oral naltrexone reduces both the rewarding effects of alcohol and the craving for it.
  • Extended-release injectable naltrexone helps address patient nonadherence, which can limit the effectiveness of oral naltrexone.

These four medications have unique pharmacological actions and profiles of effects, and they produce different types of outcomes in individual patients, making it necessary for separate guidelines for their use. As more information becomes available, it will be added to the online bibliography and literature review that supplement this TIP on SAMHSA’s Knowledge Application Program Web site.

TIP 49 revises and expands TIP 28, Naltrexone and Alcoholism Treatment, and builds upon TIP 24, A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Physicians.

To Order

For print copies of TIP 49, call SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7. Ask for publication number SMA09-4380. Download a PDF version of TIP 49. Download the online-only supplemental literature review.


  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience

Recovery: A Philosophy of Hope and Resilience




  Treatment Updates  
Treating Alcohol Disorders with Medication

Treating Alcohol Disorders with Medication

A set of guidelines for use of effective medications, such as naltrexone.

Guidance for Change

Guidance for Change

Substance abuse treatment programs: Here’s a way to integrate evidence-based practices into their services.

Treating Opioid Addiction

Treating Opioid Addiction

Three new educational brochures for patients on medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction are available.


  Suicide Awareness  
Dealing with Suicide Loss

Dealing with Suicide Loss

To help support survivors of suicide loss, a new guide for funeral directors.

National Study on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

National Study on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors

Nearly 8.3 million adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year.


  Grants  
Recent Awards

Recent Awards

Millions of dollars in SAMHSA funding is heading to state and community programs.

Tips on Writing a Winning Proposal

Tips on Writing a Winning Proposal

Boost your chances of crafting a winning grant proposal by following an expert’s advice.


  Communications  
Highlights of Recent Conference

Highlights of Recent Conference

New ways to engage partners and the public in improving health through an ongoing dialogue.

Strategic Communications Framework

Public health practice aligns with evidence-based communications to help establish “a common language.”


  Recovery Month  
Recovery Month Launched

Recovery Month Launched

20th anniversary events across the country marked this year’s celebrations, which included a march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Photo Gallery

SAMHSA’s Dr. Westley Clark, Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, joined other VIPs to celebrate.


  New Survey Data  
National Survey Shows Overall Drug Use Steady at 8 Percent

National Survey Shows Overall Drug Use Steady at 8 Percent

Among 12- to 17-year-olds, a significant decline was reported in past-month illicit drug use.


  Prevention Update  
FASD Awareness Day

FASD Awareness Day

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day emphasized the message, “If you’re pregnant, don’t drink alcohol.”


  Special Populations  

Hispanics

An annual average of 2.6 million Hispanics age 12 or older needed alcohol use treatment in the past year.

American Indians

A recent report examines the 335 identified facilities serving the American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2007.

Race and Ethnicity

New data focus on the need for treatment for substance use and depression among adults age 18 or older by race/ethnicity.


  Also in this Issue  
Statistics on Mental Health Groups

Statistics on Mental Health Groups

Of the 28.8 million adults who received mental health treatment in the past year, about 5.5 percent also received support from a self-help group.

Science and Service Awards

Science and Service Awards

Categories for this year’s awards to 27 organizations included substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery support services, and more.

GlassBook Project

GlassBook Project

Trauma awareness through art was the topic of a recent presentation as part of SAMHSA’s Consumer Affairs Seminar Series.



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