This drug to treat alcohol addiction may become the next weapon in the fight against HIV

A CVS pharmacy store front
New York, December 1, 2016: People walk by a CVS pharmacy on 3rd Avenue in Manhattan. Photo: Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock

A drug usually used to treat alcohol addition may improve viral suppression levels in those who are infected with HIV.

The study, headed by Dr. Sandra Springer and published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, showed that viral suppression improved or maintained in participants taking extended-release naltrexone to treat alcohol use disorders versus those given a placebo.

From 2010 to 2016, 100 inmates in Connecticut were given regular injections of naltrexone or the placebo beginning at the time of their release from prison, and further received injections six times monthly for the following six months.

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Participations given the drug saw improved viral suppression at the six-month mark, while no improvement was seen in those given the placebo.

They also saw a reduction in alcohol consumption — the drug’s initial intended use.

This study confirms earlier findings that showed that naltrexone could help with viral suppression in those infected with HIV.

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