This site is intended for health professionals only

12% increase in alcoholism treatment prescription medicines

27 May 2010

Share this article

Prescriptions for alcoholism treatment medicines rose by 12% in 2009 with an average of 271 items dispensed per 100,000 people in England.

The increase from 2008, itself a 46% rise on the figure for 2003, was revealed in a report from the NHS Information Centre putting the costs of the two prescription drugs concerned at £2.38m last year.

Prescriptions for the two drugs, Acamprosate Calcium and Disulfiram (also called Antabuse), reached more than 150,000. They were issued to treat withdrawal symptoms or induce sickness when alcohol is drunk.

Acamprosate Calcium, accounted for almost 95,000 prescriptions. It acts on the brain to help sufferers cope with the withdrawal symptoms from stopping drinking.

Disulfiram, which makes patients sick, made up just over 55,500 of the 150,445 items prescribed.

The figure was higher than the national average in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and East of England. The figure was lowest in London.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Department of Health