|As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, clinical trials of a new drug could hold out hope for thousands of gambling addicts. The experimental new drug is called nalmefene, and researchers at the University of Nevada School of Medicine said last week that they are surprised and pleased by the drug’s success.|
Although results of the trial are at the preliminary stage, some of the evidence suggests a real breakthrough for a problem which has been taxing the brains of academics, legislators and the gambling industry in recent months.
The Review-Journal story cites the case of Las Vegas gambling addict Alan (who asked to remain unidentified), who says he made about $200 in sports bets every day for 11 years.
After taking nalmefene six weeks ago, the 45 year-old hasn’t made a sports bet since.
”The national study is the first of its kind to clinically test a drug geared specifically to gambling addicts,' said Dr. Ole Thienhaus, the principal investigator of the pathological gambling study at the medical school.
“The drug works by coaxing the brain into producing euphoric feelings that are similar to the feelings gamblers get when gambling,” Thienhaus said.
”The medication doesn't seem to work for alcoholics or other drug addicts because gambling cravings are expressed differently in the brain than these other cravings,” Thienhaus added.
”There wasn't a day I missed gambling for 11 years,” [Alan] said. “Sports was my biggest problem, and I haven't made a bet since I became the guinea pig for this drug five weeks ago. I've played slot machines a few times, but only with my wife. I haven't snuck out of the house to make any bets.”