There’s a pill to treat many diseases, so why not alcoholism? Introducing Nalmefene, a drug developed in the U.K. that reduces alcohol cravings and might curb alcohol dependency for those in England and Scotland who consume at least a half a bottle of wine or three pints of beer daily. Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has just approved the use of the drug, and has deemed it suitable for those with moderate to heavy (not extreme) drinking problems to help cut back on alcohol consumption.
“It is much like a patch that you might wear to give up smoking, to support you to cut down on your alcohol intake,” said Lyndsey Dudley, a spokesperson for Britain’s NICE. “Some days you might feel stronger than others.”
More than two million people in the U.K. are believed to be at least mildly dependent on alcohol, and the chemical company that produced Nalmefene believed that 35,000 people alone would receive prescriptions in the first year of sales. In reality, only 53 Scottish drinkers actually received prescriptions for Nalmefene since the product was released in Scotland last year in 2014.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi