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Decision to recommend drug to cut drink dependence proves controversial

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6054 (Published 06 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6054
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

Nalmefene (Selincro) has been recommended to help people reduce their dependence on alcohol, in final draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The decision is controversial, as some commentators say that the data supporting the treatment are inadequate and have questioned how the drug will be prescribed in clinical practice.

Nalmefene is recommended for adults who have a high drinking risk level without physical withdrawal symptoms and who do not require immediate detoxification. The World Health Organization has defined drinking high amounts of alcohol as consuming more than 60 g (7.5 units) a day for men and more than 40 g (5 units) a day for women. The men’s figure is equivalent to three pints of beer …

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