nalmefene versus naltrexone

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Just wondering what experience people have of using nalmefene and/or naltrexone. I have tried nalmefene but couldn't cope with the side effects - though I must say it was a week before I fancied a drink after taking just one tablet - partly I just felt too I'll, I wasn't functioning/enjoying life either. It seemed to bring on an attack of vertigo which I'd had in the past and am only just recovering from 6 months later. I've done quite well with reducing my drinking but it's hard to maintain, it's always a struggle and I guess I'm being lazy wanting something to make it easier. I don't really relish the idea of medicating the issue. But I did wonder how people have found naltrexone in comparison as I'm seeing my GP next week for blood test results and a review. I did have some very helpful counselling from a local agency but they've been taken over and don't provide the same specialist one to one help anymore. Thanks everyone and I hope you are all doing well with whatever your plans are. I wish you all a happy and sober 2016

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  • Posted

    Hi h1954!

    If you google 'c three europe nalmefene side effects' the first entry that should show is my own experience of using both medications.  I first used naltrexone in this way back in October 2013, prior to nalmefene being approved in the Uk.  Once nalmefene was approved, I was hearing all about the awful side effects, so I decided that if I was to help people through this method, then I needed to experience the effects for myself, and see how long they took to pass etc.

    In both my experience, and those I have supported, naltrexone does seem to have less side effects, that pass quicker BUT everyone is different.  Nalmefene side effects do seem to take a while to subside, but it is usually worth the short term discomfort for the long term results that the medication will provide if the protocol for taking it is followed exactly.

    Across the world, naltrexone was approved in the mid 1990's.  Now it is a generic medication, no pharma company will spend the money it would take to change the prescribing instructions to be the same as nalmefene.  This was proposed during the approval process for nalmefene, but the company who make nalmefene successfully opposed this.  To a certain extent, i don't blame them - they wanted to keep their exclusivity to their profits from nalmefene as they had already invested goodness knows what amount to bring it to the market, but it is a shame as it would've given access to both medications for those who are still drinking.

    As a result, naltrexone remains a medication that is approved on the NHS for use in those who are already abstinent, and to help manage their cravings.  It is very much 'pot luck' on whether you will get to have a discussion with someone who is open minded enough to prescribe you naltrexone whilst you are still drinking.  In addition, it it not a medication that GP's will generally prescribe.  When they look it up, they will find that it is classed as a 'red' medication, meaning that most local health authorities advise doctors to refer you to alcohol services for them to assess and initiate the prescription.

    One small bargaining chip you may have is that naltrexone costs the NHS less than £30 for 28 tablets vs nalmefene which costs the NHS just less than £90 for the same amount of tablets.

    What also may help is this article. Most UK doctors can access this information during your consultation.

    https://patient.info/health/sinclair-method-for-alcohol-use-disorder

    Please feel free to get in touch if you require any other information.

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    • Posted

      wov! I have no idea about the medicine you described but you certainly have given h1954 a very good response based on your experience. Many people using those medicines can use your reply and learn more! well done indeed! All the best. Robin
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    • Posted

      Thank you Robin, I appreciate that very much indeed smile

      I really love the discussion that goes on, on this forum.  Everyone has something that can be learned from someone else's experience and it is very non-judgemental, I find.

      In my mind, this is very important, especially for those who are first beginning to find help.

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much, Joanna, for your prompt and detailed response. As you say, people's experiences are all so different because we are all so different. I will follow up the link, so that I have all the info I need, though my GP does have a special interest in alcohol issues. I am still interested to hear of as many other peoples' experience as possible. Thanks again. H
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    • Posted

      Not sure you will receive much experience (if any) of naltrexone on this site.  I am not aware of anyone of here taking naltrexone, firstly for the reasons I mentioned above (very few people are prescribed it whilst they are drinking) and secondly because the official approved medication in the UK is nalmefene.

      I think for the purpose of your enquiry, you might well be better to scan through the Options Saves Lives forum, the Sinclair Method community forum and perhaps the My Way Out forum.  On all of these three forums there will be many people who have taken naltrexone as well as those who are taking nalmefene so you can compare and contrast.

      Also, compare the naltrexone Patient Information Leaflet (it's on google) against the nalmefene Patient Information Leaflet and look at the section on side effects for both.

      Hope this helps a bit more!

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