Alcohol dependence drug gets initial ‘yes’ from NICE

NICE has issued draft guidance to recommended drug nalmefene to treat the alcohol dependent on the NHS in England and Wales.

In recent draft guidance, the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence has recommended nalmefene be used to treat those dependent on alcohol across NHS England and Wales.

Professor Carole Longson, NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre director, emphasised that “alcohol addiction is a serious issue for so many”, with approximately 600,000 patients with alcohol issues standing to benefit if this once-daily tablet becomes available.

Professor Longson said NICE hoped the availability of nalmefene would support those who “have already taken the first big steps in their fight against their addiction by visiting their doctor and taking part in therapy programmes.”  

Nalmefene works to reduce the craving for alcohol, with the tablet suggested for use alongside psychosocial support to promote a reduction in alcohol consumption. The guidance stipulated the drug should not be used for those requiring immediate detoxification.

The draft guidance document will now enter a consultation phase until the end of July, with a final recommendation on the use of nalmefene expected in November 2014.