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How long do I need to take medicines for alcoholism?

Q: I am a 39 years old married man and have two children. I was alcoholic but now I have stopped taking it. I am taking Libotryp and Ativan 1 mg daily each since 8 months. Now when I stop taking these medicines I feel heavy and irritated next day. How long do I need to take these medicines? The doctor has advised me to continue the medicines, as these have no side effects. But after starting these tablets I am not able to concentrate. Please advise.

A:Getting rid of alcohol dependence can be challenging at times but will power can overpower the urge to drink along with medicines. Libotryp contains two medicines: amitriptyline and chlordiazepoxide. Ativan contains lorazepam. Both chlordiazepoxide and lorazepam belong to the same class called benzodiazepine with similar mode of action. Hence they need not be prescribed together. Libotryp alone should be adequate. After about 4 weeks or so you can try to reduce the dose to half tablet for another four weeks or so before stopping it altogether. All medicines may have side effects. For example, the side effects of Ativan include central nervous system disturbances - including impaired alertness, sedation, dizziness, confusion, weakness, unsteadiness, amnesia, dependence, abuse, visual disturbances; respiratory depression (which can be fatal), agitation, disorientation; rarely, blood disorders. One must avoid a situation where alcohol dependence is replaced with addiction to drugs.

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