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NICE backs Lundbeck's alcohol dependence drug Selincro

Alcoholics in England to have access to once-daily drug
Lundbeck selincro nalmefene

Doctors in England and Wales will soon be able to make use of a tablet to help treat people with alcohol addiction.

The drug, known as Selincro (nalmefene), was recommended as an option to treat alcohol dependence in draft guidance published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which provides healthcare guidelines for the NHS.

The recommendation covers the use of Selincro in people who are heavy drinkers but do not require immediate detoxification. The drug is developed by Lundbeck and is to be taken once per day to reduce the craving for alcohol.

NICE's Prof Carole Longson said the drug can be an important complement to current treatments for the 600,000 who are dependent on alcohol in the UK.

“Those who could be prescribed nalmefene have already taken the first big steps in their fight against their addiction by visiting their doctor and taking part in therapy programmes,” she said.

“When used alongside psychosocial interventions nalmefene is clinically and cost effective for the NHS compared with psychosocial interventions alone.”

Selincro was approved in Europe in March last year after demonstrating in trials a 40 per cent reduction on total alcohol consumption within the first month. This increased to 60 per cent following six months of treatment with Selincro – around one bottle of wine per day.

The drug's success is important for Lundbeck as it restructures in line with its Fit for the Future programme to cope with the loss of patent protection for its top selling treatment antidepressant Cipralex/Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate).

Selincro's value to Lundbeck has increased further in the past few weeks after the company reported disappointing late-stage trial results for stroke therapy desmoteplase.

NICE is inviting comments on its draft Selincro guidance in a consultation period that ends on July 29, after which final guidance is expected in November 2014.

Lundbeck has already launched the drug in the UK, however, and just last week the company, alongside communications agency Clark Health Communications, picked up the Say Communications Award for Excellence in Product Communications at the Communiqué Awards 2014 for the related campaign.

10th July 2014

From: Sales, Marketing

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