It’s a Catch-22 of the highest order. People with alcohol problems often use alcohol to get to sleep — but it actually keeps them from getting good-quality sleep all night long.
At the same time, they’re highly likely to suffer from full-blown chronic insomnia that keeps them from getting enough sleep night after night – and that condition has been shown to cut their chances of getting sober again.
Meanwhile, their doctors aren’t likely to prescribe them insomnia medications, because most sleeping pills can be habit-forming or have adverse effects due to an alcohol-damaged liver.
Now, a small new pilot study from a team of University of Michigan alcoholism and sleep researchers offers some sign of a possible way out of this conundrum.
The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, suggests that the drug gabapentin might be able to reduce insomnia in recovering alcoholics, and help them stay away from alcohol more successfully. The drug, often used to treat epilepsy and chronic pain, is not habit-forming and is not processed by the liver.
Release date: August 4, 2008
Source: University of Michigan Health System
Filed Under: Drug Discovery