New pill which makes alcoholics want to drink less
Scientists have for the first time developed a pill that makes alcoholics want to drink less, bringing fresh hope to those who struggle with addiction.
The drug helps alcoholics fight the urge to drink excessively and can be used when they go out and are faced with temptation, a conference has heard.
It is thought it works by blocking the part of the brain which enables alcoholics to enjoy drinking.
Tests revealed that addicts who took the nalmefene, along with counselling sessions, more than halved their alcohol consumption, it was reported.
It also helped them cut down on the number of days they binged on alcohol, according to the Telegraph.
Dr David Collier, of Barts and The London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, has worked on one of the nalmefene studies.
He told the Telegraph: 'The people volunteering for these trials had real problems with alcohol dependence.
'Most had never sought help before, and others had tried and failed with abstinence strategies - stopping drinking for good.
'From our experience in these trials, reducing alcohol consumption to safer levels can be a realistic and practical treatment goal for people who are dependent on alcohol, that can bring many short- and longer-term benefits to health.'
Nalmefene is not yet licensed and is currently in the process of going through clinical trials. It is developed by the Lundbeck pharmaceutical company.
One of the reasons the drug is considered to be such a breakthrough is because this is the first pill aimed at reducing the amount of alcohol consumed.
Other drugs on the market to tackle alcoholism make addicts ill - including side effects such as vomiting, sleep disorder, dizziness and cold-like symptoms - if they drink any booze at all.
Attendees at the European Psychiatric Association congress in Prague were told that in one six-month trial alone, 604 patients in five European countries, reduced their alcohol consumption from 84g to 30g per day - the equivalent of a bottle of wine down to one large glass.
The findings also revealed they cut the number of days in which they binged on drink from 19 to just seven days.