Home > Drug to curb alcohol dependence gets go-ahead.

[Irish Examiner] , Ring, Evelyn Drug to curb alcohol dependence gets go-ahead. (17 Dec 2012)

External website: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/drug-to-curb-...

A new drug that treats alcohol dependence by removing a person’s desire to drink is due to be available on prescription in Ireland next year.

The European Medicines Agency has recommended approval of Selincro — the first approved drug therapy to proactively help curb a person’s urge to drink.

Up to now, people with an alcohol dependence had to stop drinking before beginning treatment for their addiction — a big hurdle.

However, all of the treatments, including psychosocial counselling measures, cannot prevent patients from relapsing.

The drug, developed by Lundbeck, reduces alcohol consumption and in doing so, minimises the consequences of harmful drinking.

It is regarded as a new treatment option for patients who may not have sought treatment before.

Studies involving 2,000 alcohol-dependent patients found those treated with the drug reduced their alcohol consumption by more than 40% within the first month, and by more than 60% at six months and a year.

In Ireland, research shows:

* Every seven hours, someone dies of analcohol-related illness;

* each night, a total of 2,000 hospital beds are occupied for alcohol-related reasons;

* alcohol-related problems cost Ireland about €3.7bn annually.

There were no major safety concerns identified during the Selincro studies, conducted over a number of years, and the drug was generally well tolerated.


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