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Drug Helps Heavy Drinkers Cut Back

Epilepsy and migraine medicine may help drinkers who can't or won't quit.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -  A drug used for epilepsy and migraines may help some heavy drinkers cut back.

About a fourth of people twelve and older say they've had  five or more alcohol drinks on one occasion in the past month, and at least seven percent say they drink that much at least five days a month.
 
Few heavy drinkers seek treatment, especially if they don't meet the clinical criteria for alcoholism, even if their habit causes them substantial probelms. Now a new study at the University of Pennsylvania finds that a drug used for epilepsy, migragines, and to help people quit drinking altogether also helps heavy drinkers cut back.

Researchers found that patients who received topiramate had fewer heavy drinking days, and more abstinent days. The study author says the drug may be helpful for  people who want to limit their drinking to safe levels, rather than stop drinkin altogether."
 
But, the treatment wouldn't be effective for all heavy drinkers. Analysis showed that only individuals with a specific genotype found in 40 percent of European-Americans benefitted from treatment with topiramate

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