Pill Helping Alcoholics Say No

Nalmefene is designed to be taken before entering a tempting situation
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2012 9:33 AM CST

(Newser) – A new pill designed to help alcoholics drink less apparently does the trick: Nalmefene, which is currently in the clinical-trial stage, is designed to be taken before a person heads into a situation in which they feel they'll have a hard time saying no to alcohol. In a six-month, 600-person study, those taking the drug, in tandem with counseling, reduced the amount of booze they drank daily by more than half (from the equivalent of a bottle of wine down to a big glass of wine), and cut down on binges (from 19 to seven heavy days).

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Nalmefene is supposed to work by interrupting the brain mechanisms that make alcoholics feel pleasure when they drink. As with many drugs, it's not all pleasurable, though: Dizziness, nausea, insomnia, vomiting, and excessive sweating are reported side effects. Still, it could be a big win for alcoholics, whose current pharmaceutical options are limited to drugs that intentionally make them ill if they drink, reports the Telegraph. (Read more alcoholism stories.)

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