alcure.me: European Medical Innovation to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder

by James Kamanski

Alcoholism is an addiction greater than the opioid epidemic and affects millions. Finally, there is a truly effective treatment originating in Europe unlike any other seen before.
los angeles, CA United States Mental Health

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About our project

The problem we solve: Over 15 million adults ages 18 and older have suffered from alcoholism in the U.S. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women. Millions more close to those with the disease are affected indirectly. Because alcohol is so prevalent in society, the disease and effective treatments are often overlooked. For decades willpower-based treatments have dominated the field but with high relapse rates. Finally, there is a new, innovative approach originating in Europe producing never-before-seen results in cutting alcohol cravings, restoring control over drinking, and eliminating the risk of relapse.

About our solution: Alcure.me is a telehealth platform offering treatment that strikes at the core of alcoholism–the craving to drink, and the most effective solution ever developed to permanently eliminate relapse. Alcure.me offers an end-to-end digital health solution that disrupts the physiological reinforcement loop that defines excess, out-of-control drinking with a new, innovative method of targeted dosing of an opioid-blocking medication combined with counseling. Rather than mask alcohol craving only to have it creep back later, pharmaceutical extinction eliminates it, permanently. The process will steadily and substantially extinguish cravings for alcohol, the amount, and frequency of alcohol consumed and will restore control over drinking. The medication is dosed using a "targeted" schedule and medication is combined with video chat counseling sessions.

Progress to date:

We are a team of three consisting of two co-founders (injury litigation defense attorney with extensive knowledge of medicine and a CA Licensed Professional Counselor), and a CA licensed physician assessing Alcohol Use Disorder and e-prescribing naltrexone (an FDA approved opioid-antagonist medication).

We have built a fully functional HIPAA compliant telehealth website permitting the onboarding of patients, assessment of AUD, e-prescribing of naltrexone tablets, express delivery of the medication from a partnered pharmacy to any patient in CA, electronic health record charting, online doctor and counselor scheduling, and a HIPAA compliant video chat platform that permits online doctor and counselor meetings, including group therapy sessions--from both a desktop computer or mobile device.

We are partnered through a third-party vendor with Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp for walk-in lab testing throughout the U.S. for required lab work.

We have a well-developed informational website also allowing online patient signup and payment and can treat a high volume of patients from start to finish, entirely online. Patients need only go in for walk-in lab testing required before prescribing naltrexone. We will transition to a leaner informational site that can be found at https://sites.google.com/alcure.me/

We have bootstrapped the project and have no investors at this time. We are just entering the marketing phase and do not yet have patients. We just went "live" the first week of June 2018.

About Our Team

Creator: James Kamanski

Location: California

Education: UOP, McGeorge School of Law

Bio: Named: Southern California Super Lawyer, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Specialties: Catastrophic injury defense including traumatic brain injury. Admissions: All California State and Federal Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Speaking engagements: "Bodily Injury Defense: Key Aspects and Strategies Every Claims Professional Should Know"? (March, June, and September 2014) to major Insurance Claims Conferences and local CPCU Chapters; “Catastrophic Injury Defense” Combined Claims Conference, Long Beach, CA, (March 2012) “Catastrophic Injury Defense, to Include Whether Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Actually Cause Ongoing Compensable Effects or are you Over-Paying?” Claims Conference of Northern California, Sacramento, CA, (September 2011) "Criminal and Civil Cross-Over Issues, A Practice Guide"? Eastern European Bar Association, (October 2013) “How to Avoid Entanglements with the State Bar,” Eastern European Bar Association, Southeast Bar Association, Culver Marina Bar Association, ProVisors professional networking organizations throughout Los Angeles, and major law firm (January 2013, August 2012, May 2012, March 2012). “The State Bar Disciplinary System and Maintaining and Ethical Law Practice” - panel presentation with State Bar prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, Beverly Hills Bar Association (December 2012); ProVisors Century City (November 2012) "The Rescue Attorney Rule; No Good Deed Still Goes Unpunished," Professional Liability Defense Federation annual seminar, Chicago, IL (September 2012) “A Lawyer’s Guide to the Elimination of Bias” Culver Marina Bar Association (February 2014), Alvarado Smith & Sanchez (November 2012) "Addiction and the Lawyer: A Focus on Alcoholism and a New Approach to Treatment" Culver Marina Bar Association (February 2016) "A Stunningly Better Approach to Treating Alcoholism--Much Needed Relief for the Legal Community and Beyond" Culver Marina Bar Association (September 2017)

Title: Co-founder

Advanced Degree(s): J.D.

About Team Members

Sarah Novia
Licensed Professional Counselor, B.A., M.S./Ed.S.
Biography: Ms. Novia is Board Certified as a Telemental Health Provider, holds a Credentialed Counselor Certification (Center for Credentialing and Education), National Counselor Certification (National Board of Certified Counselors), State Certification in Guidance K-12 (CT and FL), and a 40-hour certification in mediation from the University of Connecticut. Ms. Novia has extensive experience in treating clients with Alcohol Use Disorder along with the psychological conditions that coexist with excess drinking.
Title: Licensed Professional Counselor
Advanced Degree(s): B.A., M.S./Ed.S.

Richard Park
Medical Doctor specializing in Internal Medicine, M.D.
Biography: Dr. Park is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. In 2005, Dr. Park earned his medical degree at Flinders University School of Medicine in Australia and in 2010 completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Good Samaritan Hospital affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and served as Chief Resident. He also is a registered pharmacist. In 2001, he completed his pharmacy degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Title: Medical Doctor specializing in Internal Medicine
Advanced Degree(s): M.D.

About Our Company

Alcure, LLC

Location: 12655 W. Jefferson Blvd
4th Floor
los angeles, CA 90066

Founded: 2017

Website: http://www.alcure.me

Product Stage: In the Market

YTD Sales: Working on it

Employees: 1-2

How We Help Patients

Our website offers three major advantages.

One, it's a telehealth platform which improves patient access to treatment by removing the need to travel to a health care provider's office for treatment.

Two, it offers a strikingly new approach to treating Alcohol Use Disorder by borrowing from European medical science. It attacks the disease at the physiological level by reversing alterations in brain chemistry caused by repeated, excess drinking that drives the addiction.

Three, if the protocol is followed for life--which at its core involves always taking an opioid antagonist tablet at least one hour before drinking alcohol--the risk of relapse is eliminated. The treatment method is based on solid, evidence-based science and extinction of learned behavior has been a recognized phenomenon in behavioral science for decades stemming from the original Pavlovian dog experiments.

How We Help Physicians

Many patients suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder present to an Internist or Family Medicine practitioner first. Most of these providers are not specialists in addiction medicine and are not partnered with mental health care providers. We have wedded both physicians and therapists on our telehealth site, all of whom are well versed in the nuances of treating Alcohol Use Disorder patients using pharmaceutical extinction.

Rather than prescribe various other medications with one-time use instructions, or refer a patient for individual support or Alcoholics Anonymous only to see them return months later after relapsing in many cases, truly "level up" in the care of your patient suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder by referring them to alcure.me-which focuses exclusively on providing a highly successful and new treatment method based on European medical science with the ease and unsurpassed access only a telehealth platform can provide.

How We Help Hospitals

Alcohol Use Disorder is a spectrum disorder ranging from mild, moderate, and a severe risk of alcohol abuse and toxicity. Those patients on the further end of the spectrum toward a severe risk often end up "binge" drinking to blackout and can wind up in a hospital setting consuming considerable hospital resources.

This can happen from expensive ER treatment, much of which will not be fully compensated, to the housing of a patient for days while the patient recovers from a binge drinking episode or physical injury related to such an episode. Mental health and social worker services at hospitals are also often mobilized to address these patients, and after discharge, the same risk that the patient may return is there.

By referring patients into a friction-free telehealth platform offering a truly effective and new approach to treating Alcohol Use Disorder-one that can eliminate relapse permanently-hospitals will not only be optimizing patient care but will be freeing up resources in treating this otherwise chronic, repeat patient disease for the many other patients with medical problems that genuinely need in-patient hospital care.

How We Help Partners

Addiction medicine is a subspecialty and the treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder is a niche within addiction medicine. More importantly, a long overdue, truly effective treatment method such as pharmaceutical extinction requires medical providers well versed and dedicated to this treatment modality. Alcure.me offers unsurpassed patient access via its telehealth platform and brings together both physicians and therapists specializing in treating Alcohol Use Disorder patients using this new, innovative and science-based approach originating in Europe.

For partners, we compile studies and data focused entirely on Alcohol Use Disorder and keep statistics on our patient outcomes. We are at the forefront of bringing a treatment method originating in Finland to the entire United States, all on a telehealth platform. We reach out to employers who in many states must accommodate employees with Alcohol Use Disorder who wish to treat, and any other group that has members at risk, such as the military and various professional occupations.

More than ever the medical community is uniting with employers and other groups through professional networking both online and in-person to provide better awareness and patient access to new treatment methods that offer dramatically better outcomes over outdated treatment methods. Improving patient outcomes for those suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder has a ripple effect and can ease burdens and costs for a variety of industries.

Innovation Details

Intellectual Property Summary

Our treatment method borrows from what is sometimes called the Sinclair Method for treating Alcohol Use Disorder, which originated from studies conducted by the Finnish National Public Health Institute. Later studies beginning in 2012 lead to a similar treatment using the opioid antagonist nalmefene. The Sinclair Method is no longer patented and there are some, but still few, U.S. competitors employing the Sinclair Method in the U.S. (using naltrexone, the original opioid antagonist used in the Finnish studies versus nalmefene which is used extensively in Europe now after approval by the European Union in tablet form in 2013, and not available in the U.S.) but combined with therapy to enhance understanding of alcohol use patterns, triggers, medication dosing compliance, and coping techniques for what are usually associated stressors or other behavioral issues motivating excess drinking.

The only intellectual property is a common law trademark of the phrase "Crave Shave" (which was rejected by the USPTO as being merely a shorthand synonym with "pharmaceutical extinction"). Pharmaceutical extinction is usually referred to in the medical literature as "pharmacological extinction." Our goal is to become a market leader by offering the treatment exclusively on a telehealth platform that is easily scalable and to gain a competitive edge through optimizing our product offer with effective marketing and website improvement for onboarding patients, streamlining treatment logistics for patients, and providing superior outcomes.

Our new public facing website that will replace the existing site can be found at https://sites.google.com/alcure.me/

Clinical Information

See the studies on our library page. https://www.alcure.me/library/

The published success rate of the Sinclair Method is 78%, but this accounts for an approximate 10% non-compliance rate.

Pharmaceutical extinction is built on a multitude of scientific studies mostly originating in Europe. Studies in the last four to six years tested nalmefene, a second-generation opioid blocker, and track findings from earlier research conducted in Finland. What evolved was the discovery that targeted dosing of naltrexone, a common opioid-blocking medication, in animal models was highly effective at eliminating dependence on alcohol in a relatively short period. The method was adapted to human studies and then, eventually, implemented as a therapeutic intervention for Alcohol Use Disorder called pharmacological, or pharmaceutical, extinction. Extinction of Alcohol Use Disorder using naltrexone is also sometimes referred to as the Sinclair Method–named after the scientist that discovered it.

Alcure.me strives to achieve the highest success rate possible by improving treatment access with a completely online platform that integrates high-quality face-to-face video chat with a counselor. Counseling maximizes success by employing support techniques that optimize medication dosing compliance, address psychological stressors that co-exist with Alcohol Use Disorder and cement the habit of always using naltrexone before drinking.

Regulatory Status

Not applicable. Naltrexone is a DEA Schedule 5 (non-addictive) FDA approved opioid antagonist and may be prescribed for targeted dosing by a physician lawfully as off-label prescribing (the U.S. drug insert is outdated and calls for constant dosing which does not work well). Many physicians around the country that are aware of the protocol employ it and there are some, but not many, competitors in North America specifically offering the protocol as a dedicated outpatient clinic (with some services also offered online).

How we will use the funds raised

Funds to will be used mainly to implement marketing channels and improve the public facing website and patient onboarding process. These marketing channels include, but are not limited to, YouTube and viral marketing, audio podcasts, email campaigns, pay-per-click and SEO and social media.

Our new public facing website that will replace the existing site can be found at https://sites.google.com/alcure.me/

 

Thank You

If you've ever known someone with moderate to severe Alcohol Use Disorder you've probably seen how disruptive to a normal lifestyle it can be, not to mention the toxicity issues. It's as debilitating if not more so than moderate to severe epilepsy. Not only can it dramatically affect and endanger the person with the disease, it negatively affects those close to the person, such as family, friends, and employers. To date, virtually all treatment methods have been willpower-based and few do anything to attack the disease at the physiological level with opioid-blockers.

Alcohol Use Disorder is rooted in altered brain chemistry from repeated consumption of alcohol over time and the effective, targeted dosing of opioid antagonists can reverse these alterations and dramatically aide recovery and avoid the risk of relapse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 90% of people with Alcohol Use Disorder will relapse within four years after completing conventional treatment. Pharmaceutical extinction combined with effective counseling reverses this statistic and rechannels "willpower" into compliance with the medication dosing regime and learning psychological coping techniques--a much more effective way to leverage human willpower and ultimately win the battle against the risk of relapse.

Alcohol Use Disorder has largely been overlooked as a pervasive and serious disease since alcohol use is sanctioned in our society, alcohol use is embedded in our culture, and no truly effective treatment method has yet to be adopted on a widespread basis. Most people that suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder will relapse and many are ostracized because of the disruptive nature of the disease and common-knowledge of the risk of relapse. Those impacted are also left with largely ineffective treatment methods that do little to truly solve the problem at a root level where the disease and the risk of relapse can be eliminated. Those with Alcohol Use Disorder have in many ways been left behind while other advances in medicine shoot forward.

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James Kamanski
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UOP, McGeorge School of Law

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