22 March 2006

Drug That Stops Compulsive Gambling?

A drug to stop gambling?
March 22, 2006

Published reports state a University of Minnesota psychiatrist has found a drug that compulsive gamblers can take to diminish their urge to gamble. Dr. Jon Grant has reportedly found that a drug called nalmefene dramatically reduced gambling thoughts and cravings.

Dr. Grant completed a test study of 207 gamblers at 15 outpatient centers across the country. Grant discovered a problem in that two-thirds of the patients dropped out before the study was finished. Sixty percent of those who took the drug reported significant improvement in beating the urge to gamble, compared to 34 percent who took a placebo.

The pill was developed by a company in Finland. It is an opiate blocker that affects the part of the brain associated with addictive behavior, interfering with the chemical reaction that produces the euphoria or rush of addictive behavior. A side effect was nausea, which may have contributed to the high drop-out rate.

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