Drug to treat alcohol addiction also helps with suppression of HIV

June 5, 2018 by Ziba Kashef, Yale University
Credit: Yale University

A medication commonly prescribed to treat alcohol use disorder also appears to help maintain or improve suppression of HIV among individuals at risk for a lapse in HIV treatment, Yale researchers said.

In a new study, a research team led by Dr. Sandra Springer conducted a placebo-controlled, randomized trial involving individuals incarcerated in Connecticut who had both HIV and alcohol use disorders. Upon release, the 100 were given either extended-release naltrexone—an FDA-approved drug that treats alcohol addiction—or a placebo. The researchers followed the individuals for six months from the time of release.

At the end of the study period, the research team found that the study participants taking extended-release naltrexone were more likely to have either maintained or improved suppression of HIV.

The study findings confirm the benefit of extended-release naltrexone for people who have alcohol use disorders and HIV disease, and demonstrate its effectiveness in helping patients to meet the goals of HIV treatment. The paper is published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

Explore further: Opioid addiction treatment drug helps suppress HIV in former prisoners

More information: Sandra A. Springer et al. Extended-release naltrexone improves viral suppression levels in prisoners with HIV and alcohol use disorders who are transitioning to the community, JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (2018). DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001759

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