by Sven Triloqvist
Sun Jan 2nd, 2011 at 07:32:11 AM EST
Today, a few hours from annual general leglessness of a more complex kind, is as good a time as any to revisit this subject, which I have been following for many years, and which I have frequently tried to elucidate here at ET.
The new drug announced below goes a long way back to the Sinclair Method. Dr Sinclair is a good friend of mine and any discussion with him is inspiring: but on the subject of the treatment of alcoholism he is an expert. I'd like briefly revisit the history, but first read the (partly misinformed) news today...
a discussion for the hung-over - Nomad
Yle: Finnish Remedy for Alcoholism on the Market in 2012
New medication aimed at reducing alcohol dependency could be on the market in just over a year's time. The new medicine is said to lessen the urge to drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
The new drug, called Nalmefene, has been developed by Biotie Therapies in Turku, south western Finland. The Danish Lundbeck company purchased the license for the drug in 2006 and results from its clinical trials will soon be available.
Expectations are high for the new medicine. The previous medicinal remedy for alcoholism was developed well over a decade ago.
Pekka Heinälä, the Chief Physician of the A-Clinic Foundation, says that current such medication can have side-effects for some patients.
"Nalmefene will be a good additional means of therapy," he says.
Nalmefene does not prevent someone from drinking alcohol. Its function is to limit drinking by inhibiting processes in the brain that lead to continuous, uncontrollable alcohol consumption.
Nalmefene is not a new drug, though its action as an opioid blocker (`opioid receptor antagonist' to give it is medical name) is a more recent discovery. Nalmefene replaces a similar blocker called Naltrexone which had the unfortunate (for alcoholics) side effect of being highly toxic to the liver.
The Sinclair Method clinical trials were made using Naltrexone. The wiki goes into the science and history of the method, so I won't repeat it here again.
Nalmafene, as I said, has been around a long time. But the small US pharma that found it and made it, never knew what to do with it. Due, as I recall, to a bankruptcy (it could have been a buy-out) the rights to Nalmafene were offered to the highest bidder. Dr Sinclair and his partners, who had founded both a clinic for treatment and a company to produce an opioid blocker, were keen to acquire those rights. The rest of that story I'll have to leave untold for legal reasons.
My hope is that the `new' drug will be produced and prescribed according to the Sinclair Method. There is good chance it will not.
At the heart of traditional treatments for alcoholism is the idea that you have to stop drinking before you can be treated. Alcoholism has nothing to do with `willpower', it's a Learned Behaviour Disorder, and it is treatable when you know how to cheat the opioidergic system.
Tell me how you feel tomorrow...