Nalmefene questions

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Hi. I'm an alcoholic and really love all the stories and feedback on this site. Thanks to everyone! I have a terrible history with alcohol addiction and been in rehab 3 times, hospital loads of times and police cell 3 times so I've spent 3 years giving it up with many relapses. This year has been my most positive year..2 day drinking binge,a few weeks ago, in 5 months. Tried naltrexone and antebus but didn't help really. I love getting my life back and being sober 95 percent of the time BUT...I still miss that buzz occasionally, usually at weekends, hot summer days etc. I went on holiday to Egypt sober last year, but I missed the wine so much in the evenings I won't go o holiday again as it spoilt it for me. Should I try nalmefene so I can have a nice holiday again in the future? Any advice would be really good, thanks 😕

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi paper fairy,

    firstly congratulations on your success so far, having battled with the bottle myself (not as bad as you) I know that sometimes it's just such a temptation. Like smoking I can give up for months and not even care then one day out of the blue I could happily have one but I know now one puff and I'm on 20 a day. I do miss drinking and it does really put a crimp on your social life, everyone else merry and having a good time and your sat there nursing a coke. I do however look at the positives, no hangovers, more money and I am when all said and done a nicer person. I am no expert on the medication so I will leave that to others but I offer you my support and friendship, you are strong and have the strength to overcome, just look how far you have come. I wish you peace and harmony in your life and hope to speak again soon

    David

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  • Posted

    I have an alcoholic husband, who does "give  up" alcohol for a week or so, but misses the social drinking -we live in Spain, and it's all about the booze! Beach bars, BBQ's, parties, socializing etc, is ALL centred around "what you having?" !!

    He keeps saying, "I just want to enjoy a cold beer like everyone else" - BUT he cant , he is a greedy drinker,who feels hard done by if he isnt drinking, he doesnt get it, that he forfeited that small pleasure when he CHOSE to be a greedy alcoholic.  So, my answer to you would be, you cant do the "just the odd glass of wine on holiday" thing. It's like being a "little bit pregnant" You ARE or you AREN'T ! You can't be a little bit "alcoholic"

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    • Posted

      Hello Olivo!!

      Lucky you!! 😁 living in sunny Spain!! 😁

      I can relate to your comments about your husband being a greedy drinker. That's what I am one drink is too many and ten is not enough.

      But What I would say about the drug nalmefene is that it does make you less greedy , so it might help him cut back. That's what I am trying to do, and if if doesn't work I will have to admit that I am an alcoholic and give up.

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  • Posted

    Hi Paper Fairy

    I am currently taking Nalmefene. You only take it if you are going to drink alcohol, 1-2 hours before you drink. If you don't drink, you don't take it. This approach is in the NICE Guidence and on the patient information leaflet. It is liscenced for reducing alcohol intake with the aim of reaching moderate healthy levels of drinking although some people might decide to become abstinent.

    Although it does not specifically mention it, this advice appears to be in accordance with the Sinclar method which has gained a huge body of evidence for its efficacy in massively reducing drinking levels. There is a lot of information on the Internet generally (and on this forum) about this approach. The C3 foundation is a particularly useful resource. 

    One of the many benefits of this approach is that the ultimate goal can be light or moderate social drinking. 

    I'm documenting my experience with Nalmefene and the Sinclair method on another thread. 

    From eveything I've discovered so far about this approach, it would be well worth trying. 

    (NB. I am not in any way an expert and am only writing on the basis of my experience and undertanding)

    All the best!

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    • Posted

      Much the same as I would have said. It's definitely worth doing, Paper Fairy. They are having 78% success rates in Finland, but that is using Naltrexone which you say you have tried. I wonder if you took it the correct way. Both Naltrexone and Nalmefene should ONLY be taken if you are doing to drink or you are wasting your time. Over a period of 2-3 months, because the drug stops you getting that additional reward from drinking that people with alcohol dependence get, your body will 'unlearn' the addiction to alcohol but you must then continue to take a pill before drinking in the future.
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    • Posted

      Hi Paul.

      Excellent advice as always.

      I a going to attempt not to drink any alcohol today, my first dry day in months, should I be prepared for the usual withdrawal symptoms?? Or will they be less because I have been drinking less??

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    • Posted

      Yes, Michael, it really depends on your recent level of drinking. If you DO get any withdrawal symptoms, take a pill and drink what you need to in order to stop the symptoms. Don't be tempted to try and struggle through the withdrawal symptoms as they can get dangerous.

      Hopefully, you have reduced enough to get through the day without any symptoms.

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  • Posted

    Firstly thank you to you all for taking the time to reply. Have taken it all on board! As regards to nalmefene(can never remember how to spell it so will put N! Re N, the posts I have read say it makes you ill for a few days when you take it so if I don't want to take it very often, 2 hours before, say for a holiday, then it's pointless if I'm always going to get ill! ??
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    • Posted

      The side effects are bad at the start for some people. Nausea, sleeplessness and some people report a feeling of 'detachment.' These last for the first few times you take the drug, not for a few days after EVERY time you take it.

      Most people find that the side effects are less each time they take it over the first few times (a week if you took it every day) and then disappear completely after your body has become accustomed to it.

      So, if you plan to use it on holiday, get used to it first before you go.

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    • Posted

      I found the side effects practically disappeared the third time I took it. The first time was a bit rough but not unbearable - but maybe worth being at home if possible the first time. Now I've taken it for a couple of weeks there aren't any noticeble side effects so it is worth persevering. 
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  • Posted

    Good morning Paper Fairy!! Happy Monday!! 😁

    Like the others I want to congratulate you on surviving your life with alcohol. I have managed to avoid the situations you describe (so far) but ones I do something about my drinking, it's only a matter of time...

    David1973 mentions missing the buzz, I feel like that all the time now that I am on selincro/nalmefene. There's just no pleasure in a glass of wine or a beer any more.

    That said it hasn't stopped me trying to find it!! For example, last night, my wife and I went for a meal with my daughter and son-in-law, both non drinkers. My daughter is a non drinker as a result of my drinking, about the only positive I can take from it..

    I took my tablet the prescribed two hours before going out. Had a lovely meal, shared a bottle of wine with my wife, then drank sparkling water for the rest of the evening.

    When we got home, instead of doing the sensible thing and going to bed, I opened another bottle of wine, trying to find the buzz that I'd missed earlier.

    Today, I am not going to take a tablet because I have told myself I won't be drinking. I am not sure if I have the willpower to follow through.

    My advice is to give the drug a try, but if you find it difficult to stop drinking once you have started as I did, it might be a while before it kicks in fully .

    Until I read PaulJTurner1964's comments, I pretty much expected it to be a 'magic bullet' for my drinking. I now realise that I need more support and will look into this Sinclair Method that Kipling and Paul mention.

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    • Posted

      Michael, what you need to get used to is having exactly the same response to alcohol that people without an alcohol problem get. That is the difference between you (and others with a drink problem) and the rest of the population. Most people don't get that buzz but, as you know to your expense, it isn't a positive thing to have, it kills people.

      If you DO decide to drink, please make sure you take a pill. It is a process. You are already basically doing the Sinclair Method if you are taking Nalmefene. Just do a bit of reading to learn how it works over 2-3 months to cause 'pharmacological extinction' (the unlearning of your addiction.) There is no secret trick apart from taking a pill every time before you drink and having some days off from drinking and not taking a pill on those days so that you don't diminish the pleasure of other activities.

      If you have been prescribed Nalmefene, it should have only been prescribed with 'psycho-social' support as that is a clear guideline issued to doctors. However, some people have gone to these support sessions and been told by counsellors with poor knowledge that they should stop drinking which, of course, is not the aim when you are on Nalmefene unless you have specifically chosen to reduce then stop totally.

      You will get plenty of support here on this forum so it's good to keep coming here and updating us all on how you are doing.

      Good luck! smile

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    • Posted

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your continued support and encouragement smile

      regardless of the fact that I am still drinking every day, I am drinking less than I did a month ago, and that's a positive. I don't expect to easily escape from something that has been a core part of my life since I was a young 

      man. 

      Regarding your comment about 'psycho-social support. I brought the information about naltrexone to my GP, I asked for the prescription, he had very little knowledge about it, nor did my pharmacist. There was no mention of a parallel process to support the use of the drug. They both referenced it to champix for smokers. My wife has successfully used that and it seems to have a similar effect to naltrexone/nalmefene/selincro.

      I will look into non AA support, if I have to go the AA route, it will be an admission that I cannot control my drinking.

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    • Posted

      I don't think AA will work in your particular circumstances, Michael as they consider abstinence the only solution.

      There is no real guidance as to what 'psycho-social support' should consist of. My own view is that a person needs education about using the drug because it needs to be considered carefully due to the fact that it will also diminish the pleasure of other more healty activities such as exercise, extreme sports, rollercoaster rides, sex, certain sweet and spicy foods, cuddling babies and stroking animals.

      That means you need to plan to have days off from drinking, not take a pill on those days and do those other activities on your non-drinking days.

      I don't believe that you need to go into the type of counselling which digs deep into your past and why you drink and how you can change that, to get the best results from Nalmefene. Nalmefene is a physical treatment and no amount of alcohol counselling will increase its effectiveness. However, support regarding how you take it and how you deal with the practical issues of drinking is good to have to get the best from it.

      Having said that, some people have other issues going on as well and, for some of these people, those issues have exacerbated their alcohol problem. For those people, counselling could help but it should be related to those issues, not to the drinking alone.

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