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Gateway Rehab Applauds FDA for Breakthrough Thinking in Alcoholism Treatment

CHICAGO, February 26, 2015

9 Tips to Entice a Valentine to "Lean In" to Addiction RecoveryThis February, the FDA suggested new guidelines for drug makers interested in developing treatments for alcoholism. In a groundbreaking departure from conventional thinking, the guidelines would give drug companies the green light to develop treatments that help patients stay within "low-risk" daily drinking limits.

Presently, the goal of pharmaceutical treatments for alcoholism is total abstinence from drinking alcohol.

In a February 11 bloomberg.com post, FDA spokesman Eric Pahon explained that abstinence-based endpoints are often unattainable in a clinical trial, which can hinder the development of drugs to treat alcoholism. "Reducing heavy drinking to within 'low-risk' daily limits presents an alternative goal in drug development so more treatments may be developed," Pahon said.

John Larson, M.D., Corporate Medical Director of Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers, agrees. "While complete avoidance of alcohol is necessary for some to achieve meaningful recovery, there are others whose lives could greatly benefit from treatment that successfully reduces the amount and frequency of alcohol use without requiring total abstinence. These new FDA guidelines could aid in the discovery of whole new categories of medications that could do just that," said Dr. Larson.

There are currently three categories of drugs sold to treat alcoholism. In addition to having limitations, these medications are only effective for some. Despite this, no new medications have been introduced into the alcohol treatment market in nearly ten years. Reaching the high bar of total sobriety in a clinical trial consistently proves elusive.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) acknowledges more medications are needed to serve the broader population. Dr. Raye Litten, associate director of the agency's Division of Treatment and Recovery Research, believes more alcohol treatments will enable more patients to find one that works for them.

The FDA proposal identifies alcoholism as continued drinking despite physical and psychosocial consequences. The agency said an alcoholism drug should ultimately improve those consequences, which can be done via total sobriety or a reduction in alcohol use.

"There are millions of people who can benefit from this new approach by the FDA. I am happy to see that progress is being made to treat America's number one public health problem" said Michael Darcy, Gateway's CEO & President.

About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: To help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. As the largest, non-profit treatment provider in the country, we currently operate drug and alcohol treatment programs in more than 43 locations for men, women, adolescents, special needs, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Gateway's Community Division has treatment centers located throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Chicago, Lake County, Fox Valley, Springfield, and the St. Louis Metro East area. These centers offer residential and outpatient treatment services for adults, teens and adolescents accessed through insurance, state funding and self-pay.

Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about insurance coverage, treatment options, or Gateway's confidential consultation at RecoverGateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

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