Varenicline (brand name Chantix), a drug aimed at helping smokers to give up could also be effective in helping heavy drinkers to cut down. Researchers at Yale University studied 20 smokers who were also heavy drinkers. Ten of them were given varenicline and ten were given a placebo. Those who were taking varenicline reported less cravings for alcohol and less of a 'high' following an initial drink given as part of the study. When offered the chance to drink more those people taking varenicline drank an average of less than one drink compared to the placebo group who drank two to three. 80% of those taking varenicline chose not to drink at all, compared to only 30% of the placebo group. However, this was a very small-scale trial so much more research is needed and varenicline has been linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviour in some users.
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