• Article

Barriers to the use of medications to treat alcoholism

In 1994, naltrexone became the first medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an adjunct in alcoholism treatment in almost fifty years. Despite evidence of its efficacy, use of naltrexone is not widespread. Patient and physician focus groups were used to identify reasons naltrexone has not been prescribed more widely. Barriers to its widespread use include a lack of awareness, a lack of evidence of efficacy in practice, side effects, time for patient management, a reluctance to take medications, medication addiction concerns, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) philosophy, and price. The study indicates that medications to treat alcoholism must overcome numerous barriers before becoming widely accepted.


Mark, T., Kranzler, H. R., Poole, V. H., Hagen, CA., McLeod, C., & Crosse, S. (2003). Barriers to the use of medications to treat alcoholism. American Journal on Addictions, 12(4), 281-294. [PMID: 14504021].