Julian Harrison By Published:

A new treatment is now being made available in the UK to tackle alcohol dependency and help people cut down their drinking.

The medically licenced new pill, known as Selincro (nalmefene), has been proven to assist in reducing alcohol consumption – and could help more than half a million Brits who frequently drink excessively.

Designed for those who regularly drink too much and feel they need assistance to cut down, the one-a-day pill reduces the urge to consume alcohol and is combined with self-help support to alter drinking behavior.

Not yet available on the NHS, the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor Service has become the first to offer the new, prescription-only treatment in Britain. Medical Director of the service and working NHS GP, Dr Nitin Shori said: “The pill itself blocks the opioid receptors in the brain to lessen the pleasant effects of alcohol consumption – hence making drinking less appealing.

“Many use alcohol habitually, and for some, a few drinks after work to unwind can develop into a routine that’s difficult to break. This new treatment can help combat an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, for people who have built up a dependency and regularly drink high and damaging amounts of alcohol.”

Selincro (nalmefene) is typically prescribed for people whose drinking is considered ‘high risk’, usually more than 50 units a week for a man or 35 units for women, but is not suitable for those who have reached a stage where they experience physical withdrawal symptoms.

Patients are first asked to complete a two week diary to monitor the nature of their drinking habits. Those who undergo the treatment are also provided with access to a confidential online self-help programme.

Dr Shori adds: “For regular drinkers, the number of units you’re consuming can soon mount up and start affecting your health or wellbeing. It can be easy to disregard the impact alcohol may be having on your life though – and one of the biggest challenges can be to recognise your drinking as a problem.”

More information about the new treatment, a link to start a convenient and confidential online consultation and how to calculate how much you drink is available here.