Nalmefene/Selincro psychological side effects

Posted , 8 users are following.

I've been interested to read the many postings of the physical side effects of taking this medication (dizziness, diarrhoea and so on – I was prepared for that). I found no one mentioning the unpleasant psychological side effects. This is a powerful medication. I've now taken it twice and honestly think a commitment to abstinece is easier than dealing with the effect of this drug and trying to reduce alcohol intake. I drink when I need to feel confident in social situations. Imagine trying to interract with people and be on good form  when you're feeling deeply weird, in a nightmarish, bad-trippy kind of way. My self confidence collapsed. I withdrew. It would have been easier not have taken anything, Nalmefene or alcohol. I realise there's always a wide range of reactions among people, and for others this medication may work fine, but I really couldn't recommend it. 

1 like, 27 replies

27 Replies

  • Posted

    You have a fair understanding, so I am merely summarising, rather than commenting directly.

    All medicines have a different affect on people, some people get away scott free and others really suffer. I am the opposite end of the scale, I take nine daily prescription meds (including one for alcohol) and it doesn't really affect me, I suppose falling out of trees, eating mud, licking lead paint and wondering what a wasp sting felt like as a child (I found out it hurt when I poked it and it stung me), has probably hardened my system up.

    I have seen people say that they experience these effects to begin with and then fade away after a week or so. The other alternative is naltrexone, which is effectively the same, but seems to have less side effects reported.

    Who prescribed the nalfemene for you, as in what back up support do you have?

    • Posted

      Thanks for your interesting response. It was prescribed by Online Pharmacy (or some such name) and support was from Reduceyourdrinking. I've dispensed with both, and am enjoying my abstinence. Feels like winter changed straight to summer.
    • Posted

      Ah, reduceyourdrinking is actually provided by Lundbeck, the makers of Selincro/nalmefene.

      If you can go abstinent under your own steam, then great. But if you find you need ssome help going down that route, there is a medication to help with that, called Campral.

      It really is a case of how long, how frequently and how much you drank, that would decide the best course for you.

      Did you have any withdrawal symptoms in giving up?

    • Posted

      No withdrawals from giving up. It was just one of the several other bad habits I've picked up. It's good to know there are alternatives if I find myself struggling again. 
  • Posted

    Hi David,

    Everyone reacts differently to different medications, but your experiences are not uncommon with this medication.

    Both physical and psychological side effects lessen for the largest majority of people until at around the 8-10 tablets stage, they have reduced to nothing.  The first one of twice is always the worst, then things start to improve.

    This is part of the reason that I suggest to people that they allow some time to get used to the medication, preferably in a safe and comfortable enviroment - usually at home and with no commitments the next day.  Sadly, there is a lack of understanding about Selincro, even within the medical community, and so lots of peole are unprepared for the strength of any issues they may face.

    The long term results for this medication usually far outweight the short-term discomfort of the first week or two.

    Also, eating before the tablet and drinking lots of water help to reduce any side effects, both physical and psychological, and this may not have been explained to you beforehand.

    If you google C Three Europe, you will find lots more information on this medication and also about naltrexone - naltrexone is an alternative to Selincro that works just as well, achieving the same long term goal, but most people report far less issues when taking the medication in the beginning.

    • Posted

      Thanks Joanna. 

      I think what you say about getting used to the medication in a safe and comfortable place, without social committments, is extremely important, and it's the first time I've seen it stated. (I read quite a lot about the drug online before I took it). If I'd known, I'd have avoided the experience I had: a drinks party in which I felt I was in the Twilight Zone, unable to formulate a clear thought, among people whose faces had become carnivalesque (the drink in my hand was an apple juice). 

  • Posted

    Hello David,

    I have been taking Selincro/Nalmefene for 5 weeks.  The side effects do pass, although I am still aware of being "medicated"!

    I think it is worth persevering, in order to benefit long term.  I don't find the process easy, but I need the help, to reduce my alcohol intake.

    You must decide for yourself, as we are all different... but with alcohol in common. Alcohol has incredible power.  

    Good Luck,

    Alonangel 🎇

  • Posted

    Hi I cannot agree more! I would not recommend anyone to take this drug! Firstly no two bodies are the same so a one strength tablet is mad!! I took this Friday and Saturday night I have never felt so ill in my life! My body felt toxic the metallic taste in my mouth was incredible yesterday! The evening of the tablets I drank about one glass less than usual but at the point of not wanting anymore alcohol I felt a massive need to eat and that's what I did! Before my body took me off into a semi conscious trippy nightmare that lasted a few hours before I woke up feeling so ill and wanting to vomit all day!

    I will never try these again they are dangerous in my opinion.

    • Posted

      Am sorry that you had such a terrible reaction but as you will see from lots of comments on this forum alone, the reaction that you had is not at all uncommon.  I have taken then and felt horrendous the first couple of times, but that sensation lessens over the first several tablets.  For me, the first 2 were horrendous, then the next few got better and better until about the 8th tablet when it felt okay. The short term discomfort is usually worth the long term gain that these tablets provide.

      Of course, everyone is different though and there is no one path to recovery that will suit everyone.

      I tend to say that if you need chemotherapy, most people take it as an option despite knowing they are likely to be very ill during the process because it can be a life-saving treatment.  They endure the side effects for the long term gain.

      At least with Selincro, the side effects pass very over a week or so, and then the life saving work begins.  That is a much better position to be in than knowing that every single chemotherapy session will be making you ill.  And I do believe that like cancer, alochol is a life threatening condition.

      The tablets are not dangerous otherwise they would never have been approved.  The active ingredient, nalmefene, has actually been around since the 1970's.

      Please think carefully before disregarding a treatment that has an astonishingly high rate of success just because the first few tablets are not nice.  It gets better quite quickly - honestly!

    • Posted

      Please dont take this as any kind of critisism Kimbo49 but could you have felt sick beacause you had drunk too much, the one thing I found with Selincro is that I now get a hangover if I over indulge (I never did prior to the drug) and to me thats a good thing because now if I overdo it I feel rough and just dont want to drink the next day at all!
    • Posted

      Hello Em95586,

      I agree with your point.  I "overdid it" , after taking Selincro... I felt incredibly ill.  I could not face drink the next day.  I very rarely had a hangover in the past... I think it only happened if I mixed my drinks.  I could drink a huge amount of one drink, get very drunk, but no hangover.

      I am on Week 6 with Selincro/Nalmefene.

      What is your situation with it... length of time ?

      Alonangel 🎇

    • Posted

      Hi, I have been taking selicro for around 10 months, I only need it on the weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun) or if I have a day off as my problem was over drinking.  During the working week I would substitute tea and chocolate for beer, but come Friday the flood gates would open.  I am now much more mindful of my drinking, get sick of beer and only like a good wine, whereas before I would drink Skol just to keep my units down (have since realised it does not taste that great!) and any old wine!  I dont miss it in the week and sometimes on a Friday think "am I really bothered".  I have not had a serious blackout or fallen over for months now, including Christmas, which is all such good news.  I am hoping that my consumption will come down even further in time and as RHGB says I dont want to go back to the way I was drinking before the drug.  Hangovers and being sick is what stops a lot of people from developing an AUD so bring em on!!!
    • Posted

      Hey absolutely no offence taken.

      I usually drink one bottle both Friday and Saturday nights and maybe a bottle in the week. I read lots about side effects and was scared stiff to be honest! I therefore put myself in that safe situation whereby I had no responsibilities! I didn't really want to drink on Saturday but felt that I should in order to start the process - I don't drink Sunday's due to work Monday's. Other information I have read says you need to drink! I was worried that only having one and then another tablet mid week may not have the effect of getting my body use to the drug! I am wondering if this is for more frequent drinkers as against people who want to just cut down when they do drink! I bought into this not thinking I was an alcoholic but someone who drinks too much when they do drink and not able regulate my alcohol. I rarely drink more than a bottle mainly because

      I go to sleep and I think this is down to the low dose of antidepressant I take!

      This drug has been recommended as helping to reduce the amount you drink now I am worried that if I take another on Friday I will have the same effects and another horrible experience!

    • Posted

      You seem to be doing really well on it.  Are your weekdays totally alcohol free and Selincro free?  I would love to get to that place.  
    • Posted

      If you think you can face it try again, it really does work open your bottle of wine and really think as you are drinking if you want another or not, I find if I am at home I now have a glass of water too (that also helps to stop feeling so rough the next day).  If feel awful as you do the waiting time try reducing it as I have found this worked for me.  I also didnt see myself as an alcoholic just like you I couldn't stop once I popped I often couldn't remember stuff including where all the bruises came from!  I haven't had any bruises and can count on one hand the nights I cant remember going to bed since I started taking it.  Good Luck, its not perfect but it really does help!  


    • Posted

      Yes I only drink Monday to Thursday if I have day off work and I no longer miss it and crave Friday like I used to.  I also find if I do have a mid week day off I take a tab and only get to about 8 units max before I have had enough so no wasting the day off sleeping!  It's great and worth the weird feelings although I would love to try naltroxone but I am not under the Dr so dont know if my LF is OK and I have about 3 months of selincro which I cannot afford to just discard.  Having said that they pay for themselves as I buy so much less alcohol now my shopping budget goes a lot further!!!
    • Posted

      Goodonya ! You have given me hope... I am finding the tapering down caper ... tedious.  I have no patience.   I have reduced from 20 Units daily to either 8 or 6.... but have blips of 12 +.   16 on a Bad Blip.  I am taking the blessed tablet, as directed... but... sometimes I just seem to "over-ride" it.  Not intentionally... just habitual alcoholism... 'might as well call it what it is.  Today is a 16 and I am pi**ed off with myself.  I don't understand it... went to shop for more wine... stuff everything.  I hate this situation, but can't get out of it.  Ggrrrhhhhh !
    • Posted

      Hey dont beat yourself up if you used to drink 20 units even on the days you are only down to 16 thats 2 pints of beer roughly and 2 large glasses of wine less!  When you do an 8 or a 6 thats loads less!  Do you have a glass of water as well as the wine, I find that slows me down further. :-)
    • Posted

      As a PS my big drink could be as much as 24 units in a sitting, now if I go over the top its still down to about 15 - 16 units and is much much rarer so I am getting there!!
    • Posted

      I am mostly on 8 Units, now.  I know that is still bad, healthwise.  I changed wine.  8 Unit bottle instead of two 10 Unit bottles.  I keep trying to cut down further,  I have "decanted" into miniature bottles(2Units).  That was to try to beat the " finish the bottle" compulsion.  I find it too hard, so far.  Time may help things.  I hope so.  My health is rubbish !

      Good Luck with your journey and thanks for advice.😀

      Alonangel 🎇

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