A new Finnish drug offers a different type of strategy to counter drinking problems and keep people out of a drug and alcohol rehab center more often.
Heavy drinkers who took the craving-curbing drug Nalmefene whenever they felt the desire to drink reported experiencing fewer binge drinking sessions each month versus drinkers who took a placebo pill.
Researcher Sakari Karhuvaara says “Nalmefene has a robust and sustained effect in reducing harmful heavy drinking in a large study population.”
Before the tests were done, patients reported an average of 15.5 heavy drinking sessions each month. After taking the drug every time they felt the need to drink, they reported the number of drinking sessions down to about 9 times a month.
In the United States, abstinence has been the traditional type of treatment of alcohol dependence, but in the last two decades there has been a strong movement to consider drinking reduction as an equal but alternative goal to abstinence.
Not everybody who wants treatment for alcohol wants to give it up completely for the rest of their lives. This is why abstinence can usually become a great deterrent for people who are seeking help. By using this new approach, many scientists and health professionals believe that the drug can help draw more people into treatment.