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Medication for Alcoholism

Experimental Medication Nalmefene Helps Alcoholics Drink Less

posted 05:49 AM EST, Thu March 08, 2012

Heavy drinkers given Nalmefene to take as needed reduced the amount they consumed by 66%.

Need some medicine to help you drink less? Well, through Nalmefene isn’t yet approved for use, based on the results of phase 3 clinical trials, it might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Nalmefene is an experimental drug which can be taken as needed and which takes the fun out of drinking - and in doing so, it helps heavy drinkers consume less alcohol.  

The Study

According to research presented at the 2012 European Conference of Psychiatry, 600 people who were given access to Nalmefene to be used as needed for 6 months (as well as motivational counseling and support) were able to reduce their drinking by 66% by the 6th month of the study.

The researchers say that not everyone wants or is able to maintain abstinence but there are still significant harm reduction benefits associated with a substantial reduction in the amount of alcohol consumed by someone with an alcohol dependence problem.

Commenting on the findings, study researcher Dr. David Collier said that the medication could fill a treatment need to help people who are suffering from their alcohol use but who can’t achieve or sustain abstinence, saying, “The people volunteering for these trials had real problems with alcohol dependence, most had never sought help before, and others had tried and failed with abstinence strategies - stopping drinking for good. Abstinence is the right option for many people, but not everyone wants to do that, and in those that do try, it helps only about half of them.”

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Story Highlights
  • Nalmafene: New medication that takes the fun out of drinking helps heavy drinkers drink 66% less alcohol in European study
  • Take as Needed: Nalmafene can be taken prior to entering into high risk drinking situations.
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