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Home > Nalmefene: marketing ploy or alcohol treatment breakthrough?

[Drug and Alcohol Findings] (2016) Nalmefene: marketing ploy or alcohol treatment breakthrough? Drug and Alcohol Findings Bulletin (29 August 2016)


‘A pill for every ill’ is the gist of the attacks levelled at nalmefene in the form of Selincro, a drug expected to extend the benefits of pharmacotherapy to drinkers not physically dependent or in need of detoxification – or for critics, to medicalise psychosocial dependence on shaky scientific grounds.

Key points from summary and commentary
• Under the trade name Selincro, in 2013 the medication nalmefene was granted European marketing authorisation to help reduce drinking among dependent – but not physically dependent – high-risk drinkers.
• The featured analysis found that the drug could not be shown to affect health and had only minor effects on drinking, or none if it was assumed patients missing at follow-ups had continued with or resumed pre-trial drinking.
• Despite on balance positive results, shortcomings in the manufacturer’s trials and the analyses on which authorisation was based have led to concerns that less severe forms of dependence are being inappropriately perhaps ineffectively medicalised, displacing psychosocial support.
• Another concern is that there are reasons to believe that the parent drug, naltrexone, would be just as effective and much cheaper.

Item Type
Evidence resource
Publication Type
Drug Type
Intervention Type
AOD disorder drug therapy, AOD disorder treatment method, Rehabilitation/Recovery
August 2016
29 August 2016

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