1 Introduction

1 Introduction

This resource has been developed to provide practical information and advice on NICE technology appraisal guidance on nalmefene for reducing alcohol consumption in people with alcohol dependence.

It is intended to be used by both clinical and non‑clinical staff when implementing this NICE guidance at a local level. It may be of particular interest to Health and Wellbeing Boards.

NICE's Adoption and Impact Programme worked with local authorities and NHS organisations to share their learning and experiences of putting nalmefene into their alcohol care pathway. The information presented in this resource is intended for the sole purpose of supporting the decisions that are made around the introduction of nalmefene. It summarises the issues that are considered to be of significance to local authorities and the NHS, but is not NICE guidance.

The information presented has not been assessed by the Evidence Review Group and was not considered by the Technology Appraisal Committee when it considered the consultation comments and developed its final recommendations on nalmefene for reducing alcohol consumption in people with alcohol dependence.

Nalmefene is an opioid receptor modulator available in tablet form. It is recommended as a possible treatment reducing alcohol consumption, for people with alcohol dependence who:

  • are still drinking more than 7.5 units per day (for men) and more than 5 units per day (for women) 2 weeks after an initial assessment (equivalent to a high drinking risk level according to the World Health Organization's drinking risk levels)

  • do not have physical withdrawal symptoms

  • do not need to either stop drinking straight away or stop drinking completely.

The marketing authorisation states that nalmefene should:

  • only be prescribed in conjunction with continuous psychosocial support focused on treatment adherence and reducing alcohol consumption

  • be used only in patients who continue to have a high drinking risk level 2 weeks after initial assessment.

The benefits of introducing nalmefene into local care pathways reported by professionals involved in producing this resource include:

  • Improved identification of people with alcohol dependency as a result of reviewing current care pathways.

  • Reduced alcohol‑related harm and alcohol‑related morbidity and mortality.

  • Improved outcomes for people as a result of reducing alcohol intake and alcohol dependency.

The learning gained from organisations that have implemented nalmefene in their alcohol care pathway is not suggested as best practice but as real‑life examples of how sites have managed the introduction of nalmefene.

This page was last updated: 16 October 2015