Anti-alcoholism pill could come to England

A once-a-day pill that can help alcoholics quit drinking has won the support of health officials in England.

Doctors in the north east of England have called for a 50p per unit minimum price for alcoholNalmefene works by reducing the “buzz” people get after drinking with the aim of controlling alcohol cravings, as reported by The Independent.

Today, the drug found favour with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which has said it should also be available in England where it could benefit 600,000 people at a cost of £600m a year.

Professor Carole Longson, of NICE, called it a drug that was “clinically and cost effective for the NHS” compared to administering psychosocial interventions alone.

She said: “Alcohol addiction is a serious issue for so many. 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”.

However she stressed that the drug should only be prescribed in partnership with continued therapy and support.

The drug is already in use in Scotland which became the first European country to prescribe it in October last year following a positive study which resulted in men who usually drank eight units a day and women who drank six a day cut their intake by half while taking the drug for six months.

A consultation on its introduction on the NHS is now open with further information expected in November.

A separate consultation will take place in Wales and Northern Ireland.

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