Lundbeck has launched its alcohol-dependency drug Selincro in Norway, Finland, Poland and the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Selincro (nalmefene) was approved in March this year as the first drug in Europe to help reduce consumption of alcohol in patients with high-risk drinking levels.
Patients in these Northern European countries will now have access to the drug along with psychosocial support as per its recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
As reported in a multi-paper study in The Lancet earlier this month, alcohol abuse is contributing to a “health crisis” in much of Europe, and Lundbeck notes that more than 14 million people are alcohol dependent across the continent.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also previously warned of the dangers of binge drinking in the Baltic regions, with Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia all near the bottom of EU health categories linked to excessive drinking, including incidence of liver disease, traffic deaths, suicides, alcohol poisoning and psychosis.
Despite this, public health programmes to tackle alcohol abuse in these regions have been hard to push through, and have had little success.
Selincro could support these efforts, and in clinical trials it demonstrated a 40 per cent reduction in total alcohol consumption within the first month. This increased to 60 per cent following six months of treatment with Selincro.
Ole Chrintz, senior VP, international markets and Europe at Lundbeck, commented on the launch of the drug: “This is an area with significant unmet medical needs, and we are excited about introducing an innovative treatment concept that provides a new and different option for patients who may otherwise not seek treatment.”
Additional launches of Selincro in other countries are due to follow later in 2013 and 2014.
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