Scotland is the first country to give approval to a new pill that helps patients reduce their alcohol dependency, according to a BBC report.
Nalmefene, or Selincro, is a new prescription pill for people who regularly consume high amounts of alcohol, 7.5 units a day for men and five units a day for women as define by the World Health Organization.
The £3 pill, produced by Danish company Lundbeck, can be taken up to once a day, one or two hours before drinking.
Drinking alcohol causes the body to produce natural chemicals called endorphins, which act on opioid receptors in the brain, producing a ‘high’ sensation.
The new pill purports to block opioid receptors, decreasing the feeling of pleasure produced by alcohol and therefore minimizing the person’s desire for more.
During six-month trials men who typically drank eight units of alcohol a day and women who drank six, reduced their consumption by half when taking the pill.
More than two million Britons are believed to be mildly dependent on alcohol and could be helped by the new pill.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium says Selincro should be used in combination with other forms of therapy and psychological support.
Lundbeck believes Nalmefene could generate annual sales of 2.0-2.5 billion Danish krone (US5-457 million) across all markets, according to Reuters.
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