Selincro tablets from Lundbeck designed to reduce consumption of alcohol

Danish drug maker Lundbeck has been granted European marketing approval for Selincro (nalmefene) tablets to treat alcohol dependence.

‘Selincro represents the first major innovation in the treatment of alcohol dependence in many years,’ said Lundbeck executive vice president Anders Gersel Pedersen. ‘The approval of Selincro is exciting news for the many patients with alcohol dependence who otherwise may not seek treatment.’ The company expects to launch the product in mid-2013.

According to Lundbeck, more than 90% of the 14 million patients with alcohol dependence in Europe are currently untreated.

Nalmefene is an opioid receptor antagonist - it is designed to bind to the receptor and effectively deactivate it so that it cannot be triggered by the natural opioids produced during drinking. It is intended for use on an ‘as needed’ basis, with one tablet taken each day when the patient feels a risk of drinking.

Nalmefene is similar in structure and reactivity to another drug, naltrexone, which has been marketed for treatment of alcohol problems for several years.