top of page
For Alcohol Treatment Professionals

Are you intrigued by the targeted naltrexone (The Sinclair Method) but believe that abstinence is critical? You can read about how The Sinclair Method changed my mind about naltrexone and alcohol recovery here.  You can listen here to a medical talk I gave to the 2019 CCHF conference  or watch a lecture here on reducing alcohol craving which I gave before I retired from the USPH:


Data shows that for someone with alcohol use disorder, (AUD), abstaining from alcohol is the safest course of action. However, in many situations, abstinence as the initial goal keeps people from seeking help.  The targeted use of naltrexone, a.k.a., the Sinclair Method, recognizes this reality.  Over time, the consistent use of naltrexone can produce the extinction of alcohol craving.  Other medications are also used for this purpose.  Once extinction of craving occurs, patients lose the desire to drink and abstinence becomes a more attractive goal.

Treating alcohol use disorder in a holistic way is very different than current practices around the world.  Here is a webinar I presented to the the International Society of Substance Use Professionals, (ISSUP) which provides an overview of this approach.  The medical practice associated with Alcohol Recovery Medicine functions as a traditional specialty practice to provide Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as part of a comprehensive health care team. We work with others to provide the best in compassionate and evidence-based care. 


Dr. Umhau describes how he learned about the targeted use of naltrexone this way:

One day, over lunch, a friend asked me if I would prescribe naltrexone for him.  He wanted to take this pill before each business meeting so that it would help keep him from drinking too much.  I had known him for years and was surprised by his request.  He did not consider himself an alcoholic, he simply was afraid he would embarrass himself by getting tipsy when he was hosting a meeting. As a specialist in addiction medicine, I encouraged him to stop drinking entirely, which is always the safest advice for anyone with alcohol use disorder.  He was not ready to stop drinking, however.  Although using naltrexone on an "as needed" basis was not the typical way to treat someone with alcohol use disorder, I could not think of any reason why it would hurt to use it this way.  At the very least, it might reduce the harm the alcohol might cause, or even get him thinking about traditional alcohol treatment. At the time, I was conducting research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and I had often used naltrexone for alcoholics who were trying to abstain from alcohol after they completed detox.  What I had not read yet were the studies suggesting that naltrexone was most effective for patients who drank alcohol while they were taking it, and that over time, the targeted use of naltrexone could reduce the desire to drink. 

Years later, my friend would describe how naltrexone had changed his life for the better. 


The Canadian Alcohol Use Disorder Society has collected information about alcohol treatment that is useful for professionals who want to know more about treating AUD.  Here is a video from Dr. Jeff Harries which will inspire you to learn more about the use of medications to help people with AUD.

For an in depth discussion on how to treat alcohol use disorder with nutrition and medications, below are links to a six part CME lecture which includes case studies:

bottom of page