Tens of thousands of Britons who regularly drink two large glasses of wine a day could be now given a new pill to help them reduce their alcohol consumption. ‘ GP’s are urged to prescribe a new drug called Nalmefene, which could help up to 600,000 adults in England, who may already be described as “mild alcoholics”.
Under new NICE guidelines women who drink five units a day and men who drink 7 ½ and struggle to get by without drinking will be prescribed this drug.
To put some balance what is actually five units look like ? It’s actually 2 ½ glasses of 12% alcohol wine using 175 ml glass. The thing that I have noticed, in my private practices is that seldom do people know exactly how much alcohol they actually drinking, as glass sizes can vary enormously; I have known in the past people buying glasses that would easily contain half a bottle of wine.
Using this new drug NICE estimate that they can save 1,854 lives, over a five-year period and prevent 43,000, alcohol-related diseases and injuries. Over the past decade, deaths from liver disease have soared by a fifth and there were 4,425 in 2012, mostly people in their middle age.
One prerequisite for using this drug is that it is to be used alongside counselling. Anecdotal evidence in my local area, suggests that there is a lack of counselling provision for people with alcohol problems, in fact, when local people do access counselling it’s normally six sessions of CBT. Another factor to take into consideration is that this new drug should only ever used for a period of six months, what other support to people have past six months is unsure.
It is reported that the NHS spends 3.5 billion annually treating patients with alcohol misuse, and it looks like this figure could rise. What is obvious to me is that provision for counselling people with an alcohol problem would help enormously. Also, educating people on what a unit of alcohol actually looks like.