Salud: NHS to endorse daily pill for heavy drinkers in England
- The UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published final guidance recommending daily use of Selincro (nalmefene) for adults with alcohol dependence.
- Selincro is not used to induce abstinence, but rather to cut down on alcohol consumption.
- Many experts believe that cutting down on alcohol consumption is a more realistic goal than complete abstinence.
Lundbeck’s Selincro is a boon for those who are heavy drinkers, but not necessarily in need of complete detoxification. According to its labeling, the drug is to be used in patients who have a high drinking risk two weeks after initial assessment—i.e., men who cannot cut down below 7.5 units per day or women who cannot cut down below 5 units per day.
According to Lundbeck, when Selincro is combined with counseling it helps patients cut down alcohol consumption by 61% after six months—the equivalent of one person drinking 28 fewer bottles of wine per month.
The logic behind the moderation-over-abstinence approach is that abstinence is often hard to sustain in heavy drinkers, and the National Health Service is already spending $5.6 billion per year due to misused services associated with heavy drinking.