Britain's Heavy Drinkers Offered Anti-Booze Pill

Nalmefene approved as means of reducing alcohol consumption
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2014 9:01 AM CST
Britain's Heavy Drinkers Offered Anti-Booze Pill
In this July 28, 2008 file photo, pint of beer is pulled in a pub in London, Monday. The iconic British pint has become the latest victim of the global credit crunch Monday, Oct. 28, 2008, with total beer sales dropping around 7 percent in the third quarter of this year.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

Those Brits who want to cut down on their alcohol intake—and can spare about $5 a day—now have access to a pill to reduce their craving. UK officials have approved the drug nalmefene for use along with counseling to help reduce alcohol dependency, the International Business Times reports. The official approval means people who fit the right profile can request the prescription drug. "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 programs," says a researcher.

Nalmefene, which can be taken once a day, helps people feel less of an urge to drink, experts say. It's considered appropriate for many people drinking the equivalent of at least half a bottle of wine daily, the Guardian reports. Plenty of potential candidates to take the drug "probably don’t even recognize themselves as an alcoholic," says a health official, who compares it to a nicotine patch. But since nalmefene is intended to be used to gradually reduce alcohol intake, it's not a good solution for people who need to quit right away, the Guardian notes. (More alcohol stories.)

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