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Drugs Today 2014, 50(5): 347
ISSN 1699-3993
e-ISSN 1699-4019
Copyright 2014 Clarivate
CCC: 1699-3993
DOI: 10.1358/dot.2014.50.5.2132323
 
 
Nalmefene and its use in alcohol dependence
Gual, A., Bruguera, P., Lopez-Pelayo, H.
 
 
Nalmefene is the first available drug approved in the E.U. to reduce alcohol use in alcohol-dependent patients. Reduction in alcohol use in heavy drinkers diminishes mortality risk and socio-economic burden. Nalmefene has shown efficacy at 6 months in alcohol-dependent patients with high or very high drinking risk levels in reducing total alcohol consumption (-7.6 g/day [95% confidence interval (CI): -11.6 to -3.5]; P = 0.0003), heavy drinking days (-2.00 days/month [95% CI: -3.00 to -1.00]; P < 0.00001) and other secondary outcome measures such as g-glutamyl transferase, alanine aminotransferase, drinking risk level and Clinical Global Impression. It is generally well tolerated and has limited contraindications and interactions. As-needed dosage is a novel concept in the addictions field, which may overcome limitations of traditional regimens. In the pivotal trials, nalmefene was taken 52% of the days and compliance with the as-needed treatment regimen was good (above 80% of the days) in 68% of the nalmefene-treated patients. A new pharmacological approach combined with a brief psychosocial intervention for alcoholism is available and appears to be feasible, safe and efficacious.


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