Alcohol consumption

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of Nalmefene to reduce the urge to consume alcohol.

The new drug has been licensed for use, alongside psychosocial support, to help people reduce their alcohol consumption, as well to encourage them to continue with their treatment, NICE said.

Also known as Selincro, Nalmefene is recommended for men who consume more than 7.5 units a day and for women who drink five units a day, as defined by the World Health Organization.

It can be prescribed as a once-a-day tablet on an as-needed basis.

Approximately 35,000 people are expected to be given the drug while receiving a psychosocial intervention, according to the manufacturer’s submission.

NICE health technology evaluation centre director professor Carole Longson said: "Many people have a difficult relationship with alcohol, even though they have a very stable lifestyle, maintain jobs and a social life and would not automatically assume they have a problem.

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"Approximately 35,000 people are expected to be given the drug while receiving a psychosocial intervention."

"Those who could be prescribed Nalmefene have already taken the first big steps by visiting their doctor, engaging with support services and taking part in therapy programmes.

"When used alongside psychosocial support, Nalmefene is clinically and cost effective for the NHS compared with psychosocial support alone."

According to NICE, the drug, plus psychosocial support, can reduce heavy drinking days by 3.2 days per month and total alcohol consumption by 1.8 units per day.

Nalmefene is priced at £42.42 for a 14-tablet pack.

Image: NICE has recommended Nalmefene to reduce the urge for alcohol consumption. Photo: courtesy of NICE.