New drug helps to reduce alcohol consumption. Nalmefene is reimbursed by social security since September 19, 2014.
There are about ten years, it was thought that a person dependent on alcohol had completely lost control of its consumption. To help cope, doctors had only one solution to offer him total abstinence.
But for many patients, from ten to fifteen glasses a day to zero is an unattainable goal. The bar is too high. In fact, only 8% of alcohol-dependent are supported in a care facility, France. "Many think that doctors have nothing to offer them," laments Dr. Henri-Jean Aubin, President of the French Society of alcoholism.
But the situation is changing. Today, the "dogma of abstinence" is questioned, for two reasons. On the one hand, this strategy is not suitable for many patients, the other drug solutions are appearing on the market.
Who is the Selincro?
Thus, nalmefene has obtained authorization to market in February 2013, in the indication "reduction of alcohol consumption." It is reimbursed by social security since September 19, 2014. Of the two million alcohol-dependent in France, 280,000 people are likely to be interested in this product, according to estimates by the Lundbeck laboratory.
Three studies have shown that Selincro helps reduce 50% his drinking within the first month of treatment, 60% at six months and 70% at one year.
This product is for men who drink more than six drinks per day and women beyond the four glasses daily. It acts in the brain, on the control systems. Some side, transient effects may occur: insomnia, nausea ...
To be taken once a person wants to drink
The tablet should be taken as soon as the person feels the urge to drink. It is in effect one to two hours.
"This decision to demand is very popular with patients. It empowers "says Professor Aubin.
In parallel, patients are asked to keep a diary of their consumption, which they note day by day the number of bus glasses. They can see progress. In the same spirit, the Selincro can not be prescribed without psychological support.
For people who want to reduce their alcohol consumption, Selincro is, for now, the first-line drug. According to health authorities, baclofen should be prescribed in second intention, in the event of failure of the first drug.
One thing is certain, drinking less is better for health. Professor Bertrand Nalpas, alcohologist CHU Montpellier, spoke on this subject at the foundations of the French Federation of addiction, on 9 October.
Based on scientific studies, it has shown that heavy drinkers who succeed in reducing their alcohol intake to below four glasses a day significantly reduced their risk of liver cirrhosis and cancer of the larynx.