CNS drugs

Nalmefene: a review of its use in the treatment of alcohol dependence.

PMID 23949908


The opioid system modulator nalmefene (Selincro®) is approved in the EU for as-needed use to reduce alcohol consumption in alcohol-dependent adults with a high drinking risk level. This article reviews the efficacy and tolerability of as-needed oral nalmefene in the treatment of alcohol dependence, as well as summarizing its pharmacological properties. In two randomized, double-blind, multinational trials (ESENSE 1 and ESENSE 2), as-needed nalmefene significantly reduced the number of heavy drinking days (in both trials) and total alcohol consumption (in ESENSE 1) at month 6. In the randomized, double-blind, multinational SENSE trial, as-needed nalmefene significantly improved both of these endpoints at month 13, but not at month 6. As-needed nalmefene had a greater beneficial effect in the target population (i.e. alcohol-dependent patients with at least a high drinking risk level at screening and randomization), with post hoc analyses revealing significant reductions in both the number of heavy drinking days and total alcohol consumption at month 6 (in ESENSE 1 and ESENSE 2) and at month 13 (in SENSE). Oral nalmefene was generally well tolerated in patients with alcohol dependence, with the most commonly occurring adverse events including nausea, insomnia and dizziness. In conclusion, as-needed nalmefene provides an important new option for use in the treatment of alcohol dependence.