There are an estimated 240 million people in the world with serious alcohol problems who are in need of help and medical intervention. A daily tablet of the medicine Antabuse, as recommended by NICE (National Institute of for Health and Care Excellence), can stop alcohol consumption completely and immediately, allowing recovery from alcohol dependence. Disulfiram works by causing a rapid and extremely unpleasant reaction, sickness and dizziness, if even the smallest amount of alcohol is consumed. If a person takes one disulfiram tablet a day then they can be assumed to be alcohol-free.
Although Antabuse is safe, effective and used for 70 years, the problem has always been one of compliance. Alcohol dependent patients often say they are taking Antabuse when they are not and they simply carry on drinking alcohol.
ZenaMed Ltd solved this problem with the development of the Zenalyser®, a small, hand-held breath analyser, that detects Antabuse and alcohol in the breath. Doctors and relatives can now have full confidence on the compliance status of the patient. A positive Zenalyser® result means that the patient is Antabuse compliant and therefore alcohol-free.
The BIC was able to help the company develop a new handheld version of the Zenalyser® which can be used anywhere in the world that has access to the internet. The company received a New Product Development Grant and attended a number of BIC self-development workshops and events.
The BIC has also helped ZenaMed Ltd to gain Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) certification enabling Zenalysers to be sold to clinics throughout the UK and Europe. This BIC help and support has allowed Zenalyser® to have CE marking and therefore full access to a huge potential market.
Patients can now take a unit home and under supervision from a family member, take the test on a daily basis without having to visit their doctors or clinics. Results of their test will be sent electronically to the patient’s doctor. This regular testing will mean fewer patients failing and this will save the NHS millions of pounds.