German evaluation says new drug for alcohol dependence is no better than old one

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 08 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7544
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

Germany’s scientific institute for evaluating the effectiveness of medicines has concluded that studies of the alcohol dependence drug nalmefene offers no additional benefits to naltrexone, an older and less costly comparator therapy.

The assessment, by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, widely known as IQWIG, is in contrast to an assessment issued in October by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which recommended nalmefene as a “possible treatment” for alcohol dependence.1 With 28 nalmefene tablets—one month’s worth—costing £84.84 (€108; $132), the NICE recommendation was criticised by some.2

The IQWIG assessment that an added benefit of nalmefene over naltrexone has not yet been proved will be …

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