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Treatment of drunk patients can be 'a huge burden'

Treating people who have drunk to excess can be "a huge burden" on the NHS as the cost of care they need quickly adds up, a medical chief warned Good Morning Britain.

Malik Ramadhan, Clinical Director of Royal London the Emergency Department explained the course of treatment most overly intoxicated patients received.

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  1. Wales

How does the alcohol pill Nalmefene work?

Nalmefene works by blocking the part of the brain which gives drinkers pleasure from alcohol Credit: PA

The alcohol pill, known as Nalmefene, is administered orally once a day and is taken when people feel the urge drink.

It works by blocking the part of the brain which gives drinkers pleasure from alcohol, stopping them from wanting more than one drink.

Men would qualify to receive the treatment if they consume 7.5 units of alcohol per day - around three to four pints of standard strength lager.

It would be offered to women who consume five units a day, which amounts to around half a bottle of wine.

Nalmefene is the only licensed medicine which helps people reduce their drinking rather than aiding them to stop drinking altogether.

Severe alcoholics and those who are able to cut down without help would not be eligible for the drug.

Regular drinkers to be offered pill to battle alcohol cravings

Drinkers who have half a bottle of wine or three pints a night are to be offered a life-saving pill which helps reduce their alcohol consumption.

PA

Nearly 600,000 people will be eligible to receive the nalmefene tablet to keep their cravings at bay.

Experts claim the drug, which costs £3 a tablet, could save as many as 1,854 lives over five years and prevent 43,074 alcohol-related diseases and injuries.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommended the drug's use after trials showed it cut drinking by 61% over six months when used with counselling.

Under new plans, GPs would ask patients about their alcohol intake even when they visit them for unrelated health issues.

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