The drug naltrexone, widely used to treat alcohol addition, may also help people with a gambling problem, according to a University of Minnesota study of people who gambled for six to 32 hours a week.
The researchers had 58 men and women take doses between 50 milligrams and 150 milligrams of naltrexone every day for 18 weeks, while 19 others took a placebo. Of the 49 people in the treatment group who completed the study, 40 percent quit gambling for at least one month, compared with 10 percent of those in the placebo group, United Press International reported.
Participants who took the drug also reported a significant decline in the intensity and frequency of their urge to gamble. The findings appear in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Naltrexone isn't a cure for gambling, but does offer hope to problem gamblers, said study author Dr. Jon Grant, UPI reported.
"This is good news for people who have a gambling problem. This is the first time people have a proven medication that can help them get their behavior under control," Grant said in a prepared statement.