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J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc. 2019 Aug;58(3):167-172. Korean. Review. https://doi.org/10.4306/jknpa.2019.58.3.167
Jung YC .
Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. eugenejung@yuhs.ac
Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Abstract

Clinical studies published over the past two decades have consistently demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy and safety of anti-craving medications. To use anti-craving agents more effectively in clinical settings, it is important to set clear treatment goals. Because alcoholic patients have lost control of drinking alcohol, it is recommended to set ‘abstinence’ as a goal rather than ‘controlled drinking’. Indeed, the therapeutic effects of anti-craving medication are higher when abstinence is set as the target. On the other hand, if abstinence is the sole criterion, it is difficult to elicit the motivation of a patient who lacks motivation in clinical practice. In the case of patients who have not yet gained insight, the initial goal might be set to gradually reduce the amount of alcohol consumed and prevent at-risk heavy drinking. Even in this case, anti-craving can help clinically. To increase the effectiveness of anti-craving medications, it is best to start at least four to seven days after the patient has stopped drinking. If the patient has alcohol withdrawal symptoms, they should be treated first.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.