Navigation Links
New Strategy to Counter Problem Drinking

Problem drinkers who took a craving-curbing drug whenever they felt the desire to imbibe reported fewer heavy drinking days each month than drinkers who took a look-alike placebo pill, but both groups reported marked reductions in heavy drinking days.

Those findings come from a study of 403 heavy drinkers in Finland, who took either a placebo or the drug nalmefene on an as needed basis.

It has a robust and sustained effect in reducing harmful heavy drinking in a large study population, said researcher Sakari Karhuvaara. Alcohol problems have huge negative impacts on the well-being of individuals and families and cause enormous costs to society due to lost working days, accidents, treatment of alcohol-related disease, etcetera.

Before the study, patients assigned to nalmefene treatment reported 15.5 average heavy drinking days each month. They were directed to take the drug whenever they felt a looming urge to drink. During the first three months of treatment, the average number of heavy drinking days was 8.6 to 9.3 for the people in the nalmefene group.

The drinkers assigned to the placebo group had somewhat less dramatic reductions. They averaged 16.2 heavy drinking days a month before the study and 10.6 to 12.0 during the trial.

Researchers double-checked participant-reported alcohol consumption changes with tests that measured alcohol-use biomarkers in the blood.

In the United States, abstinence has been the traditional goal of the treatment of alcohol dependence, but in the last 20 years, there has been a movement to consider harm reduction or drinking reduction as a goal equal to abstinence.

Alcohol dependence is nowadays recognized as a chronic, recurring disorder where relapses almost inevitably occur during and after the treatment, Karhuvaara said. So focusing on harm reduction in the short term is often much more feasible than complete abst inence, he added.

Karhuvaara is a physician and health researcher who was once an employee of Biotie Therapies Corp., the manufacturer of nalmefene. The drug maker supported the new study.

There are fair amounts of good data (showing) that the more drinks you have a day, the more likely you are to have health or social consequences, said alcohol researcher Raymond Anton.

The thinking is that if you can reduce heavy drinking days or the number of drinks per drinking day, you might actually alleviate some suffering, even though you dont cause the person to be abstinent.

Not everyone who seeks alcohol treatment is ready to consider a lifetime without alcohol, so an abstinence goal can be a barrier for some people considering help.

Many health professionals are convinced that a harm reduction approach can draw more people into treatment, said Anton, director of the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina. Anton did not participate in the Finnish study, but he has conducted nalmefene research in the United States.

The Finnish researchers note some side effects among people in the nalmefene group, including nausea, abdominal discomfort, as well as energy and sleep difficulties. However, most study participants remained in the trial and continued using the drug.

I wish theyd done an analysis to see if the people who suffered those side effects were the same people who drank less. Perhaps some of the reduction in drinking may have been because they didnt feel so good, rather than because the drug just took away an urge to drink, Anton said.

Patients must take most medications for alcohol treatment daily. Nalmefene taken as needed fits into the harm reduction treatment approach.

The drug is an opioid antagonist that works to block the effects of endorphins. The U.S. Food and Drug Administrat ion has not approved nalmefene for use in alcohol treatment; the drug is primarily available in investigational studies.

Karhuvaara said his study also suggests that practically any doctor could successfully administer nalmefene in a wide variety of medical settings.

It is an attempt to get the drug out of the sole use of addiction specialists and into the hands of primary providers, Anton said.


Related medicine news :

1. Novel Strategy To Combat Alzheimer’s Disease
2. "Defensive Pessimism" Before Exam Results Not a Good Strategy
3. WHO Devises New Global Strategy To Fight Tuberculosis
4. HER-2 Positive Breast Cancer Patients May Benefit With a Combo Drug Strategy
5. West Nile Virus Can Be Tackled By New Strategy
6. Australia Set To Implement A national Strategy Tackle Cannabis Abuse
7. Clement Urged to Plot a National Pharmaceutical Strategy
8. New Preventive Strategy to Fight Childhood Obesity
9. Rae unveils Health-care Strategy
10. A Promising New Vaccination Strategy for Late-Stage Melanoma
11. Effective Strategy Against Bird flu-Spainish Flu Vaccine Raises Hopes
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/26/2015)... NE (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs ... searched by healthcare professionals and offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group ... during the month of October 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... second medical opinion process, participated in the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The ... and took place Sunday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, ... ... online platform for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with Women’s ... holistically address their reader’s queries on topics on mental and emotional well-being ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... more aggressive than those found on mammography, according to a study published online ... additional cancers not seen on mammography may necessitate a change in treatment. , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... The ... perfect dish and pleasing the palates of attendees is of the utmost importance. ... to a seasonal get-together, give these recipes a try this holiday season. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "2016 ... by Test, Country Volume and Sales Segment ... Emerging Opportunities" report to their offering. ... the addition of the "2016 Global ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nederland, November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> Een nieuwe aanpak combineert immunotherapie ... gevorderde kanker. ) ... -->      (Photo: ... het Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: