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NICE backs drug to cut alcohol consumption

Final guidance for Lundbeck’s Selincro for use on NHS in England
Lundbeck Selincro alcohol

The UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended a new drug to help people with an alcohol problem to reduce the amount they drink.

NHS patients in England will now have access to Selincro (nalmefene), a once a day tablet marketed by Danish firm Lundbeck.

As per the drug's EU approval it is licensed for use alongside psychosocial support to help people reduce their alcohol consumption and give them the encouragement they need to continue with their treatment.

“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,” said Prof Carole Longson, director of NICE's Health Technology Evaluation Centre.

“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. We are pleased to be able to recommend the use of namelfene to support people further in their efforts to fight alcohol dependence.”

Selincro has demonstrated its effectiveness in clinical trials where it has helped patients cut the amount they drink by an average of 61 per cent after six months.

The drug works by affecting an individual's opioid receptors, which help to control the brain's motivational system. By doing so, the reinforcing effects of alcohol are reduced, resulting in a decrease in the urge to drink.

Lundbeck has already launched Selincro in Northern Europe in countries such as Norway, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and the company is likely to ramp up marketing in England now it has final guidance.

Lundbeck, which recently saw its CEO resign after breaching company rules, has high hopes for the drug as it tries to overcome the impact of the loss of patent protection for its top selling treatment antidepressant Cipralex/Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate).

27th November 2014

From: Sales, Healthcare

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