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What is the Sinclair Method?

The Sinclair Method is an emerging treatment model in the United States. It was invented in Europe from research sponsored by the Finnish government and the same method, using a slightly different medication, was approved for use in the European Union countries in 2014.

Medically it's called "pharmacological extinction." It involves taking an FDA approved medication to temporarily block the reinforcing effects of alcohol that drive excess drinking and which eventually cause a physical urge or craving for alcohol. The blocking action is subtle, allowing for an easy reduction in the desire to drink.

Established from PET scan medical studies (Positron Emission Tomography), alcohol consumption will cause a small release of endorphins with each sip. Though generally not noticeable, endorphins work as a primary biological reinforcement of behavior--creating a reinforcement "loop" in some people that gets beyond their control.

The medication is taken only when you drink and temporarily suppresses the effects of endorphins, disabling biological reinforcement and allowing for an easy decline in the urge to drink. Medically, that's called "extinction." Patients report a gradual indifference toward alcohol. There are no withdrawal symptoms.

How does the platform work?

You start with a video chat medical exam with your Alcure physician who also prescribes your medication, makes necessary adjustments to customize your treatment as you progress, answers all your questions as they arise, and addresses any side-effects that may come up from using the medication.

We combine physician support with over 10 hours of accelerator videos to optimize the entire process. By combining our videos with the medication and frequent physician feedback to adjust for your particular situation, we get exceptional outcomes in the fastest time possible.

Therapist-level support

Many clients with Alcohol Use Disorder will have coexisting personal issues that are best addressed by a licensed therapist. Therapy is proactive, where existing client strategies are improved upon, and healing when clients are facing greater difficulties. All forms of therapy are solution-focused.

At this time we are offering therapist-level support in CA and CT only. Therapy support is charged separately.

What's it like to drink on the medication?

Though reports vary among patients, most won't notice much of a difference when drinking with the medication in their system.

Do I have to abstain for a period?

No. You begin treatment right away.

How do I get my medication?

If you elect for Plan One, you'll pickup and pay for the medication on your own at your local pharmacy for the original order and all refills. We'll help you get the lowest price with a discount. The discounted price averages between $25 to $50 for 30 pills, or you may use insurance which can be even less.

If you elect for Plan Two, we handle medication fulfillment and shipping for you. Alcure facilitates medication orders through Truepill Pharmacy in Northern California, which works with some of the largest telehealth websites in the country.

We do not partner with, or obtain medication from, any foreign-based suppliers. We are also not a pharmacy, supplier, or re-seller of medication.

How is the medication delivered if I'm on Plan Two?

Via Priority Mail Express, the fastest USPS shipping available. Delivery usually takes three business-days or less.

Is the medication addictive or does it have side effects?

The medication is not addictive whatsoever. The side effects, if any, are usually minimal and go away quickly. Side effects can also be mitigated with other safe, prescription or OTC medications. Other medication prescribed or recommended to alleviate side-effects is not included in the monthly price.

A very small subgroup of clients will experience more adverse side effects and may not be able to tolerate the medication.

Do I have to request refills of the medication?

Yes. Just reach out to your Alcure physician directly when you're down to about 10 days' worth of medication to account for lead time to communicate with your physician and for either pickup time by you (Plan One) or delivery time (Plan Two).

Medication is not auto-filled (Plan One) nor auto-shipped (Plan Two) monthly. All refills must be requested through your Alcure physician.

Also, our partner pharmacy will not release refills requested too soon (for example, one to two weeks after shipping a previous batch of 30 tablets) without a showing to your Alcure physician of a special need for another batch sooner than expected.

When is Pharmacological Extinction considered a success? What's the success rate?

Success is reached when the impulse to drink is brought under control and drinking stays within safe levels. In the United States, safe levels are 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men (2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans).

Based on clinical studies, 78% of patients will reach full "extinction" of Alcohol Use Disorder in an average of nine months and this success rate accounts for about one-in-ten patients who do not comply with the medication dosing protocol. Accordingly, with strict medication dosing compliance, the success rate can exceed 90%.

The period to accomplish extinction varies with each person, but most patients will see a substantial reduction in the volume and frequency of drinking within a few months.

How does the Sinclair Method compare to Alcoholics Anonymous?

Established in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous, sometimes called the 12-step model or a willpower-based model, harnesses self-restraint alone and focuses exclusively on sobriety. AA doesn't employ medication to disrupt the biological reinforcement causing excess drinking. When AA was established modern medicine was still in its infancy.

AA still dominates as the first line of treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder, and most patients only discover the Sinclair Method after realizing self-restraint models aren't working for them. For example, over 80% of alcure.me client applicants report prior failed success with AA or similar treatment models.

Is there a difference between excess drinking and Alcohol Use Disorder, or alcoholism?

"Excess drinking," "problem drinking," "alcohol abuse," "alcohol dependence," "alcohol addiction," and "alcoholism" all refer to the same medical condition called Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol Use Disorder is a "spectrum" condition that refers to problem drinking. It can affect anyone at any time and ranges from mild, to moderate, to more intense. Think of it as running on a scale from 0 to 10.

Do you process medical insurance?

Though most clients choose not to make a claim with their insurance for the treatment we offer for privacy reasons, if you have medical insurance and wish to make a claim we'll provide you a "superbill" each month. A superbill is a detailed receipt identifying the billing codes used by all insurance companies to process payments for the type of treatment we provide.

You may submit the superbill to your insurance company requesting full or partial reimbursement. We cannot guarantee reimbursement and you may wish to consult your insurance company first. If so, ask us for an example superbill to run by your insurance company in advance.

For clients electing Plan One, the cost of the medication is often covered by medical insurance as well.

Once I get my stuff under control, do I have to keep taking the medication?

Only when you drink. By always following the dosing protocol relapse is avoided.

What happens when I only need a maintenance supply of the medication after therapy is completed?

Clients that have completed treatment will switch to maintenance use of the medication and can "hop off" our platform until it's time for a refill. That's done by requesting to pause recurring payments. When to switch to maintenance use is a decision for you and your Alcure doctor.

When the time comes to replenish your supply of the maintenance medication, you'll simply contact support, advise you are a returning client, and we'll set you up with another video chat with your physician for an updated assessment and refill.

The charge is still the same monthly price, but it becomes a one-time charge. In effect, you "hop off" our platform again until it's time for another refill down the road.

Are there any other charges?

Rarely, and if there are we'll tell you about them in advance. These include things like special lab testing which is sometimes needed while using the medication.

What kind of technology will I need?

A high-speed internet connection, webcam and microphone. Almost all clients prefer accessing our service through a mobile device such as an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet--all of which come equipped with a camera and microphone.

Alcure is a Google powered digital health platform to ensure the highest quality in performance with robust data security for your privacy.

Start by downloading Hangouts Meet (not to be confused with just "Hangouts") from your device's app store for video chat sessions. Once installed, it will deploy automatically when using our service. Hangouts is not encrypted for your privacy.

For desktop or laptop access to video chat, download and use the Google Chrome browser to access your email account and and link to video chat sessions. Chrome is a free browser and takes a few seconds to download. If you don't already have Chrome just type "Chrome" into any other internet browser and follow the easy-to-install instructions.

If you'll be using a traditional desktop computer make sure you have a webcam (most of which are also equipped with a microphone).

If you'll be using a laptop most are already equipped with a camera and microphone at the top of the screen.

And if I have any other questions?

Email us at support@alcure.me 9-5 Pacific Time M-F.

We're happy to answer all your questions and respond promptly during business hours.