London clinic fits Irish alcoholics with £850 anti-addiction "pellet"

London clinic fits Irish alcoholics with £850 anti-addiction "pellet"

A LONDON clinic is fitting Irish clients with a special £850 “pellet” that can help to combat alcoholism.

The private patients, who are making their way to the capital to avail of the costly treatment, are mainly “CEO’s and young professionals” The Abstinence Centre confirmed this week, although the treatment is expected to be made available in Ireland from next month.

"We have quite a lot of people travelling over from Ireland," Brendan Quinn, commercial director of The Abstinence Centre in London, confirmed.

"For many people, it's an affordable intervention," he added.

With up to a 40 per cent success rate, the pellets work – after being implanted in the lower abdomen - by releasing a dose of Naltrexone into the bloodstream.

The drug suppresses the “buzz” often felt after consuming alcohol by blocking opioid receptors in the brain.

However the treatment is not a “magic cure” the centre claims, and must be suitable for the individual and undertaken as an aid to treating alcohol addiction.

Dr Vince Gradillas, Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director of The Abstinence Centre, which has branches in London, Newmarket and Birmingham, explains: “Addictions are complex disorders, often accompanied by mental ill health, social, vocational or other problems caused by or predisposing to misuse of substances that also need addressing.”

He added: “Opiate antagonists only block and do not actively provide addicts with any form of immediate reward or resolution to their distress. Voluntarily taking a tablet, therefore, which does not achieve a reward or reduce psychological pain is often a poor option even for motivated addicts.

“This partly explains the rather low compliance and relapse rates with this form of treatment, and hence use, of naltrexone, despite opiate antagonists being available to clinicians and patients for 40 years.”

A three month Naltrexone implant costs £850 at The Abstinence Centre.

The treatment can be taken for 18 months, with a new pellet inserted every three months.

The One Step Clinic at Dublin City University is expected to be the first place to stock the drug in Ireland, with the treatment due to be made available there to private patients from July.