My nalmefene/selincro story so far.

Posted , 12 users are following.

I started on selincro eight weeks ago. I was drinking on average, two bottles of 14% wine every night and a bottle of spirits and beer at weekends. On special occasions I usually drink only spirits and get absolutely wasted. After Christmas and New Year, I became concerned about my health and had a full medical in February. It showed no apparent damage to my health from drinking. (Liver function, cholesterol etc all normal). However, I recognised that I was pushing my luck and needed to cut down if not stop completely.

I considered AA, but I don't believe in a higher power, so that wasn't a runner. By chance I heard about naltrexone/nalmefene and approached my GP for a prescription. It's not cheap, but then neither is my drinking habit! 

I started two months ago today, took my first tablet and continued on drinking as prescribed. Apart from nausea, dizziness, insomnia for about the first two weeks, the side effects were no worse that my usual withdrawal symptoms. I still craved a drink when I came in from work and usually gave in and had a few drinks. Gradually I noticed that I wasn't that bothered if I didn't finish the bottle and by the end of the first month I was no longer drinking spirits. By week six I could go a day at a time alcohol free. This past week, the only alcohol I have had is three glasses of wine last Wednesday, drunk at a civilised pace over the course of the evening. Last night, Friday night, when I would typically have had half a bottle of gin or rum AND two bottles of wine, I shared a bottle with my wife and was perfectly content to stop at that.

So for those of you who have started on nalmefene or similar keep going, it's worth it!

For those of you who have tried everything else, give it a go, you have nothing to lose and gain the chance of getting your life back.

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  • Posted

    Hi Michael

    Thank you for the advice. Ive been drinking heavily for about 4 years. Every night. Strong lager or real ale. It does become a habit. The body kind of gets used to strong beer (thats the misconseption). The brian gets used to the strong beer stimulation but the internal organs do not. That is why my liver function tests have not been good. Alcohol is a poison so has caused me many abdominal problems. The endoscopy was not a good experience. Still, the brain loves the buzz that alcohol brings. If only the liver had the same opinion. 

    Be good

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    • Posted

      Hi Steve,

      All habits are hard to crack, but if you feel that the special brew is damaging your health, it might be an idea to do something about it. I had been drinking heavily for 40 years. I ignored my drinking, classic denial story. 'I wasn't that bad', 'it hasn't affected my job' etc. But I had a couple of home truths told to me by my wife and daughter over Christmas and I had to try to get off it somehow. I am still not off it completely but I am getting there. I am trying to replace drinking with healthy habits. It's not easy, but I feel that I am moving forward a little every day and that's all that matters at the moment.

      At least with beer you are doing less damage than with wine or spirits, so it will be possible to wean yourself off it with nalmefene/selincro. Then maybe you can rewind to when you just enjoyed a few and stopped at that.

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  • Posted

    I haven't been on this forum for a while but wanted to share my Selincro experience, I have been taking it for some time now and having a mixed response. It has definitely made an enormous difference to my 'normal' drinking. I think I have at least halved the amount I drink when I am at home on a drinking night - that is between Thursday and Sunday for me.  Where I haven't noticed a big difference is when I go out - I still seem to have the same desire to keep on when I really should stop,  not sure how this will work out over time. I will definitely carry on with selincro though.
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    • Posted

      Hi DebsJS,

      I haven't had an opportunity to test how well I am doing in a social setting yet. I am not a regular pub goer so it's not an issue.

      I have a big challenge coming up next week, I am going away for a week on our annual family holiday. I am a nervous traveller at the best of times and regardless of the time of the flight I usually have a couple of large gins to 'settle my nerves' and then a few more on the flight to keep them settled! This means that I am wasted on arrival at the holiday destination, with all the consequences of that. Then it's the same on the way home. sad I will see if I can get through this flight without my 'liquid medication'.

      I am coming to the conclusion that the tablets only help remove the desire to drink, but they don't completely remove it. The problem for all of us drinkers is that we like doing it, we like 'the buzz', the 'warm glow' but we all know that alcohol isn't doing it for us any more. All we have been doing is poisoning ourselves and ruining our lives.

      This is where I think willpower comes in, at some point we will have broken the cyle of binge/withdrawal and we can choose to stop. At the moment all I am experiencing is not drinking as much as I used to, but I still want to drink.

      Ultimately I would like to stop completely, but that is a long way off I think.

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  • Posted

    Hello. I am intrested to hear what this forum thinks would help make it easier to access Nalmephene. I did a lot of work around access to another medicine in the UK - naloxone - and am currently looking at access to nalmephene.

    It seems there are issues around prescriber awareness, local approval to fund and even the suggested critieria to be met to be prescribed excludes many!. I also note the explicit direction that nalmephene should only be prescribed alongside psychosocial support (which in some respects makes sence) but wondered if this too was a major barrier given the lack of provision - and especially when someone is NOT deemed to require immidiate detox/abstinence. What method does this forum think would best help people access nalmephene?


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    • Posted

      A change in attitude by doctors would be a good start. There is very little recognition that the pre-disposition to alcohol addiction is a MEDICAL illness and not a lifestyle choice. Many GPs are not interested in their patients who drink too much because they believe it is a self-inflicted problem. Ironic that GPs are one of the professions in which alcohol addiction is the highest!

      Due to this attitude, there is disinterest in finding ways to help people who are drinking excessively and GP knowledge of alcohol problems is often very very poor. Even detox, which has been widely known about for decades, is very difficult to get on the NHS. Nalmefene (The Sinclair Method) is therefore going to take a long time to be accepted as a genuine treatment option.

      More appropriate than 'psycho-social support' is education about the drug. For example, Nalmefene would also diminish the enjoyment of other more healthy activities such as certain sweet and spicy foods, exercise, going on roller coasters, having sex, cuddling babies and stroking animals. People need to be aware that they should have days off from drinking and, therefore, from Nalmefene, when they should do these other activities to get maximum pleasure. If we are finally recognising that alcohol addiction comes from a physiological cause, the idea of delving deep into a person's background to find out the reason for their heavy drinking makes no sense at all. Most people who have a drink problem AND psychological issues have those psychological issues because they have repeatedly been told that they brought this problem on themselves and that they are bad people. Imagine that happening to cancer patients... 'I'm Paul and I have cancer and it is all my own fault, I am a terrible person and I have hurt all the people closest to me by getting this disease.' It would be a scandal and I believe that the current treatment of and attitude towards people with alcohol dependence will, one day, be recognised as a scandal.

      The other issue with access to Nalmefene is the cost. Unfortunately, the mentality in the NHS is that THIS YEAR'S budget must be met with no overspend. The problem with that is that it is very shortsighted and also wasteful. Nalmefene currently costs a lot and the drug committees at the local level take one look and say £3.50 per pill?!!! No way we are approving that for our GPs to prescribe!!' What they don't have the foresight to consider is that the cost of an intensive care bed for somebody with liver failure can be £10s of thousands. That is the future bill for some patients if appropriate treatment is not given at an earlier stage.

      Lundbeck, the company that developed Nalmefene, currently has the patent for the drug and nobody else can manufacture it. This is a common thing. Lundbeck spent all the money on research and development and should be allowed to recoup their costs. That patent will last two or three years and then it will expire, allowing other companies to make Nalmefene, at which point the cost will reduce and we may see more willingness to put the drug on local 'approved' lists.


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