Medications Can Treat AUD, But Few Know That

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Imagine this situation: You have a medical condition that requires treatment. But you don’t know there are medicines you could take.

Do you ask your doctor for a prescription? Unlikely.

It’s common knowledge that there are medications for diabetes and depression. But when it comes to alcohol use disorder (AUD), few know about medication-assisted treatment, as a Ria Health survey confirmed.

These gaps have significant implications for public health, leading to the unfortunate situation of only a fraction of people with AUD receiving evidence-based treatment, which includes medication.

Low Awareness of Medications for AUD

We fielded a survey to measure the awareness among people with AUD or who have relatives with the disorder of medications for treating alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The results showed:

  • 39% of those surveyed were aware of the names of medications for treating alcohol cravings.
  • 54% were unsure.
  • Nearly 10% said medications to treat AUD didn’t exist.

By comparison, we asked our respondents about their awareness of medications for two other dominant mental health conditions. 

  • Nearly 100% knew medications were available for depression.
  • 55% knew there are medications for treating opioid use disorder.

Knowledge Gap Contributes to Treatment Void

Treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) remains strikingly low, despite evidence that AUD is rising.1  

The stigma associated with AUD makes some people resist seeking treatment or other help.

Not knowing about medications is another barrier to treatment, with implications for the welfare of families, workplaces, and communities.

Together, they contribute to rising healthcare costs for conditions like liver disease, chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure, and others associated with alcohol misuse.

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online in May 2022 by Gantt Galloway, PharmD, director of clinical research at Ria Health. Galloway is an experienced researcher in addiction treatment and a clinician who has treated people with AUD. 

1Alcohol Facts and Statistics | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (n.d.).

Get Full Survey Results

Find out more about respondents’ answers to questions about medication and AUD in our white paper, “A look at medication for alcohol use disorder: How a lack of awareness impacts utilization.”

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