Sharing my experience with Nalmefene - early days. Also buzz/no buzz?

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My query crosses a few threads. I started on Nalmefene on wednesday. I had done a lot of research on the Sinclair Method. I looked at evrything from pop-media reports to some of the clinical trial papers and have been convinced by the argument. There's something elegant in the counterintuative logic (ahem, sorry)!

Anyway, based on what people have been saying here, it sounds like it's been hard to get Nalmefene prescribed. I think I have been lucky. I had spoken to my GP a while back about my alcohol use as it was seriously effecting my work and my relationships, not to mention my ongoing concerns about my physical health. I had already been in counselling for a few weeks and took the NICE guidelines along to the appointment. He hadn't prescribed it before but read up a bit while I was there and prescribed straight after. He was very much, 'yeah, lets try it!'

I took one pill and and bought a bottle of wine an hour or so later. I wasn't really aware of any changes in my overall state when I first took the tablet, up until the point where I started drinking. When I drank the wine I didn't really like the taste (but to be honest it was cheap wine) but usually when I've had a cuople of glasses, it tastes 'just fine'. But this time I was drinking it as if I was searching for something; that old familiar good feeling but it just wasn't there. I felt like I was searching through the bottle for it. I finished the bottle quite quickly in the quest for my old "friend" but to no avail. 

An hour or so after, I felt tired, nauseous, exhausted and as if I had flu. I couldn't eat and just wanted to sleep. I definitely didn't want to drink any more alcohol, but I had a restless night, going in and out of sleep. The next day I felt pretty bad, with a headache and nausea like travel sickness. I'd never ordinarily feel like that after one bottle of 11% white.

The following day I didn't drink at all as I'd made a conscious descision not to... and I also felt crap. (I was, a few months ago drinking 3 bottles of wine a day throughout the day, every day, or a 35cl bottle of vodka and 2 bottles of wine... but have now tailed off to one or two bottles of wine every other day - and the occasional bing where I have even more). I was still recovering from the side ffects though they were wearing off. The next day I took Nalmefene again as I thought I'd probably drink. I bought a bottle of red which I like to see how I got on. I finished it but didn't really enjoy it that much but somehow felt compelled to finish it. And then I nipped out for more but bought two mini bottles because I knew I'd finish  the second bottles otherwise 'since it was there'. I did eventually finish the two mini bottles (18.5cl each) but felt shattered. As no-one was home that day, I might easily have ordinarily gone out again and bought at least another bottle but didn't... cos of Nalmefene or just tiresness, I don't know.

Yesterday I didn't drink any alcohol and didn't take Nalmefene. Not wanting the side effects of Nalmefene was a significant factor in prompting me not to drink that day but also family were coming round that day. (I've found it easier to not drink at all for a day than drink less over 2 days)

Today, I took Nalmefene at around 1pm and bought a 35cl bottle of vodka around 3pm and started drinking it quite quickly. This time, on the plus side I haven't had hardly any side effects from the Nalmefene but I did  get a buzz from the vodka, and did feel like drinking more and have now finished that half bottle. That worries me. There was something reassuring about the lack of pleasure in the bottle of wine. I thought understood... 'ah this does nothing for me, drink enough of this on Nal and of course I'll go off it' but today, hardly any side effects and a nice warm glow from the vodka, as if I hadn't taken the tablet. Then again, a nice warm glow from vodka? usually it's a feisty f***er!

Just wondered if anyone else has experienced similar? No buzz from alcohol then some buzz a few days later while on Nalmefene. And bad side effects coinciding with no buzz and mild-none side effects with buzz?

But also just wanted to share my experience as it feels like we're pioneers, us TSM people and this will be helpful in building a real world evidence base for this approach.

Cheers everyone. I've already got a lot of advice and support and felt a lot of warmth come across here!


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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this.  It will be helpful to so many people on here.

    I haven't gone down the Sinclair method route yet, but I am very interested and any information is great.

    Yes, you are pioneers, and thank you for being so.


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  • Posted

    Won! A long story a great for others to read. You are being 100% honest which is great and others can give you better advice than me since I have never taken any medicine. This is a great place to find people in your situation who can give you advice. Keep trying and we all hope that you will reach your aim!
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  • Posted

    Hi, I am so glad you posted this. I am about to embark on my selincro journey but I do have questions. I would really appreciate any help so if you get an answer please share. My main concern is how bad are the side effects? I have 2. Young children and I work full time. Taking time off is not an option for me. If . Am really honest, I am scared that I will never feel that 'wine buzz' again. Does this medication really stop you getting any kind of buzz. I still want to enjoy a drink with my friends and have wine on a cosy night in with my partner! I know my drinking is out of hand but I'd still like the occasional 'wine buzz'

    Good luck on your journey. Any help would be much appreciated.

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    • Posted

      Hi Katie

      Donn't worry too much this is just my initial experience. The first time the side effects for me were a bit rough and I didn't enjoy the drink. I've now taken it four times and each time I have taken it the side effects have reduced. The most recent time today, they are practically non-existent. 

      As for the buzz, this is returning too, but I have also have already seen my need to drink more reduced. 

      Everyone will react differently and I'm just putting down my own experinces/perceptions and it is very early days. But yes on my fourth tablet there are virtually no side effects and the drink is giving a warm comfortable feeling without the need so much to carry on drinking past that.

      Please don't be put off!

      I really look forward to hearing how you get on!

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  • Posted


    Just thought I'd share my experience to date. I started taking nalmefene last Monday. I took it for 7 days straight to try and get the side effects out of the way asap . The first day was really grim. I can honestly say that I felt absolute despair and it scared me. I have suffered with insomnia but not a totally awful kind - just mellow not sleeping. My first night without any drink was last night and I was fine and slept well. Today I have taken a pill and had 2 glasses of wine but feel I want more. I am in my pj's so won't be going to get more from the shop but I know I would've before. My craving for a drink was still there and that kind of disappointed me but I'm not giving up. I will persevere for as long as it takes to get past this alcoholism. Please everyone keep sharing. It really does make a massive difference knowing you're not alone! X

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  • Posted

    Thank you to all of you guys for a very interesting discussion. This is such an informative site and I'm so glad I found it. We will beat this fatal addiction together with the help of each other :-)
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    • Posted

      Hi Everyone, thanks for the messages. I realise it's been a while now so thought I better post again. Thanks for the reminder Rose.

      So another 2 weeks or so on Nalmafene. The horrible side effects of the first days are now long gone. I can't say that my drinking massively reduced since I first started taking it. I think there a lot of psychology at play. For one thing, I'm eager to properly get on top of my addiction in a proper sustainable way. I suppose I've thought, the more often I drink while on nalmafene, the quicker I'll be on the road to recovery. So I'm impatient. Then because as far as I can tell, Nalmefene hasn't really blocked other pleasures like nice food, sunny days etc, I haven't been as incentivised to take days off from Nalmefene/alcohol. I have done a few but not many. Previously when I've obviously had to use willpower to stay off the booze. I'm hoping on Nalmefene that I'll gradually get less bothered about it and not have to try but so far that isn't happening any noticeable way. I'm strangely getting less pleasure from alcohol but not reducing my need for it. I suppose that makes sense. It takes time for the brain to catch up when old behaviours don't bring the same results. I realise it's a minimum 3 month process for it to work and interestingly, reading on some other forums where people have been on Nalmefene or Naltrexone (essentially the same thing) for several months or even years, it can take longer than expected. But on a positive note, all these people have said it eventually works! There's always the fear that I'm one of those 10% that Sinclair and Eskapa say get addicted through a differ process. Hopefully not. It's still early days and I'm still very positive. Hopefully I'm more like the rats that had a 100% success rate!

      It's fantastic to be on this forum and I'm really inspired by everyone's courage in speaking out and taking positive steps to get on top of this horrible thing. And it's great to have Paul's advice from a professional point of view. Especially because it is so hard to find balanced and informed support. I'm happy with my GP and counsellor because they have both quickly got up to speed on the most recent developments, even if they did have to be made aware. I don't think it is their fault and I realise that the medical profession has a vast amount of new science to keep up with. It's more a failure within our culture to take alcohol more seriously and that subtly but powerfully, this informs the medical establishment. If there's one positive that might be taken from Charles Kennedy's tragic death is that it will put alcohol addiction and it's real costs in to the media spotlight for a while. There's no harm in admitting an alcohol addiction. It is not anybody's fault. And some of the most intelligent, creative, strong and compassionate people (the list is endless) have suffered so there is no shame. And it seems like we now have a real, workable medical approach, to getting out of this trap, based on robust science, that has emerged in the last decade or so - for the first time in history! 

      Really look forward to read how others are getting on!

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    • Posted

      Hi, I took Nalmefene for the first time last night. Drank the usual two bottles of wine with no reduced desire. I did feel very tired afterwards so went to bed.

      Initially I had a very weird couple of hours of sleep then woke up feeling awful. Had restless limbs where I felt I had to keep moving, felt nauseous too. But worst of all was a horrible angry feeling. I do suffer from depression and am on antidepressants so have felt like this in the past but it's just quite unpleasant to have it suddenly appear due to the Nalmefene.

      Anyway, it's the first day. I have five more days off work and am hoping the side effects reduce by the time I have to work again.

      Thanks for all the shared experiences on here, really helps.

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