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Friday 21st October 2016

Prescriptions for alcohol dependency on the rise

27th May 2010

New NHS data has revealed that the number of prescriptions given out to treat alcohol dependency has increased across England.


The NHS Information centre data shows that a total of 150,445 prescription items for two specific drugs were dispensed in 2009, which is a rise of 12% from the 2008 figure.

However, there is also a suggestion that the rise may also be an indication of more people willing to seek treatment with a growing number of GPs prepared to offer it.

The drugs involved are Acamprosate calcium and Disulfiram and cost £2.38m.

In 2009, almost 95,000 prescription items were dispensed of Acamprosate calcium, which helps restore the brain's chemical balance to reduce a patient's withdrawal symptoms from alcohol while just over 55,500 prescription items were dispensed of Disulfiram.

This causes a severe and unpleasant reaction in the patient if they drink alcohol.

Figures showed that overall the number of men with symptoms of alcohol dependency fell between 2000 and 2007, from 11.5% of men aged 16 to 74 to 9.3%, while the figure for women – 4% - was unchanged.

Chief executive of the charity Drinkaware Chris Sorek said: "It's shocking to discover that alcohol-related deaths are again on the increase - and, with a rise in prescription items dispensed to treat drink dependency, it's vital now, more than ever, that we act to educate people on the effects of drinking too much before more people come to harm."

More than one in five men and 10% of women are technically binge-drinking once a week, he said.


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