Nalmefene is a type of drug that is used to help treat people with alcohol addictions. It is approved for use in the UK and is recommended for treating patients with alcohol dependency who have a high risk level of drinking without physical withdrawal symptoms and who don’t need immediate detoxification.
It is best for those who are dependent on alcohol, but not addicted. The drug works by reducing the effects of alcohol. Those who want to reduce their alcohol consumption should consume a pill around an hour or two before their first drink. Nalmefene makes the effect of drinking alcohol less enjoyable so the person drinking will have less desire to keep drinking.
What is Nalmefene?
Nalmefene is a type of drug that acts on the same area of the brain as an opioid. This drug binds to the receptors but it doesn’t activate them. This result prevents the body from reacting to the effects of opioids and endorphins.
In addition to being used as a drug to combat alcohol dependency, Nalmefene can also be used to treat symptoms of an opioid overdose. It helps to counteract the respiratory depression that is usually caused during an opioid overdose.
Nalmefene is not recommended for those who are addicted to alcohol but rather for those who are looking to reduce their alcohol intake. It should not be taken by those who experience withdrawal effects when they stop consuming alcohol. This is because the drug is designed to help reduce alcohol intake and isn’t a drug that is used to prevent or cure an addiction.
History of Nalmefene
Nalmafene was approved for the first time in the US in 1995. It began as an injectable solution for helping with opioid overdoses. However, this substance was discontinued in 2008 because the sales were poor.
The pill version that is used for the treatment of alcohol dependency has not been approved in the US, but it is regularly used in European countries. Clinical trials of this drug for alcohol dependency were carried out in Lundbeck. This was after the drug was licenced from Biotie Therapies.
Nalmefene was approve in the EU in March 2013 and, in October of the same year, Scotland became the first country to prescribe it for helping with alcohol dependence. In 2014, Nalmefene was offered in England and became approved on the NHS. The aim being to reduce the alcohol consumption among problem drinkers.
What is Alcohol Dependence?
When someone is dependent on alcohol, this means that they feel like they can’t function without alcohol. Drinking becomes very important and is often the most important thing in the person’s life if they are dependent on it.
People who are dependent on alcohol may need to start drinking more and more to feel the same effects. This can eventually result in an alcohol addiction.
People who are dependent on alcohol may put drinking above their other activities and may continue to drink despite the negatives that it is bringing into their life.
Medications for Addictions and Abuse
Some substance abuse disorders may be treated with certain medications. However, these medications usually work best when part of an alcohol detoxification process and a rehab programme. This means that these medications are not sufficient as a standalone treatment for addictions and substance abuse.
When these medications are used properly, they can help to reduce cravings for certain substances and may help to reduce withdrawal symptoms during a detox programme. It may also help some people if they have medication prescribed as a part of an ongoing treatment plan.
For example, some medications may cause unpleasant symptoms when taken in addition to certain mood-altering substances. These types of medications are common in treating alcohol dependence and addictions as they react to ethanol. Therefore, this can make the consumption of alcohol an extremely unpleasant experience.
How to Choose the Right Medication for Addiction
When overcoming any type of substance addiction, this will require a lot of determination to succeed. The person will need to be dedicated and willing to accept life without substances. This will include the completion of a detoxification programme to help break the cycle of substance abuse. This will be followed by rehab treatments so the addict can learn how to live without substances.
During the detoxification process, the patient may receive prescribed medications to help with the process. If medication is appropriate, a doctor or health care professional will consider many factors including your age, health, and the severity of your addiction to find the right kind of medication that would work for you.
Quick Facts About Nalmefene
Below is a list of quick facts about Nalmefene:
- It does not prevent alcohol intoxication
- It is intended to help with the reduction of alcohol use
- It is not intended for use to aid abstinence
- It is not advised for use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Patients should be monitored regularly and their need for continued treatment assessed
Are There Any Side Effects of Nalmefene?
There are some side effects that may come with the use of Nalmefene. These include the following: