New Pill Could Help Alcoholics Have Just One Drink

Nalmefene is aimed at easing, not stopping, consumption
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2010 7:25 AM CST
Updated Dec 26, 2010 1:45 PM CST
Could you stop after this? With the help of a new pill, maybe.   (©J Anand)

(Newser) – Common wisdom holds that in order to recover, alcoholics must completely abstain from liquor—but thanks to a new pill, that may soon no longer be the case. Nalmefene, developed by Denmark’s H. Lundbeck A/S, blocks the signals in the brain that make drinking feel good, Bloomberg reports. Its aim is to reduce consumption of alcohol, not block it completely.

“A major problem among alcohol abusers is that many are not interested in seeking treatment, perhaps because they do not want to accept the goal of complete abstinence,” says one expert. This drug, currently in testing with potential to be cleared in Europe by 2012, could be a more attractive solution to such people than Alcoholics Anonymous or other anti-alcohol drugs like Antabuse, which induces vomiting when alcohol is imbibed. (In other alcohol-related news, click for news of the discovery of a "drunken" gene.)

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