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NICE recommends Lundbeck’s alcohol dependency drug

NHS patients to have access to Selincro to help control drinking
NICE recommends Lundbeck's alcohol dependence drug

Alcohol dependent patients in England are set to have access to a new pill to help control their drinking problem.

Health guidance body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued final draft guidance backing the use of Lundbeck's Selincro (nalmefene) as an addition to counselling to the 600,000 people in England estimated to be dependent on alcohol.

The drug is intended to help reduce consumption of alcohol, rather than lead to complete abstinence, and in clinical trials it has helped patients cut the amount they drink by an average of 61 per cent after six months.

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said that encouraging alcoholics to drink less could have health benefits on blood pressure, cancer and liver disease, as well as wider effects.

“Reducing alcohol consumption can prevent these social and physical damages developing,” said Langford.

Selincro has already been launched in Northern Europe in countries such as Norway, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and Lundbeck is likely to ramp up marketing in England once final guidance is published next month.

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 high hopes for Selincro as it tries to overcome the impact of the loss of patent protection for its top selling treatment antidepressant Cipralex/Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate).

The company's 'Fit for the Future' programme has seen Lundbeck implement Europe-wide restructuring programmes and hundreds of job losses.

The importance of new products like Selincro became even more apparent over the summer following disappointing late-stage trial results for investigational stroke therapy desmoteplase.

Article by
Thomas Meek

2nd October 2014

From: Sales, Healthcare

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