Call for alcohol treatment to be listed on PBS

EXPERTS are calling for an old drug used to treat alcohol dependence to be listed on the PBS because it is cheaper and more effective than existing PBS-listed therapies.

Four Australian drug and alcohol experts said in an MJA editorial that a recent review of the original efficacy of disulfiram, which is approved by the TGA, showed it achieved excellent results when used under supervision.

Acamprosate and naltrexone are currently the only PBS-listed treatments for alcohol dependence, costing $166 and $135 a month respectively, and are more expensive than the estimated $70 monthly cost of disulfiram, they wrote.

Dr Alex Wodak, co-author of the editorial and director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, said although relatively cheap, without subsidy the cost of disulfiram was stopping it from being used more widely.

“Here’s a method that’s been around for a long while, thought to be