Middle-class drinkers in Britain who enjoy having more than three glasses of wine a night, will be given a pill to reduce their dependency on alcohol.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has approved the use of Nalmefene, also called Selincro, to curb men and women drinking more than the required 7.5 units and 5 units a day limit.

The institute said the drug has been approved for use alongside counselling support for people, who want to reduce their alcohol intake by up to 1.8 units a day.

Nalmefene is available from today and costs £42.42 for a 14-tablet pack, or about £3 a day. Around 35,000 people are expected to be given Nalmefene in the first year.

Professor Carole Longson, director from NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said: "Many people have a difficult relationship with alcohol even though they have a very stable lifestyle, maintain jobs and a social life and would not automatically assume they have a problem. But regularly drinking over the recommend daily amount of alcohol can seriously damage your health.

"Those who could be prescribed nalmefene have already taken the first big steps by visiting their doctor, engaging with support services and taking part in therapy programmes. We are pleased to be able to recommend the use of namelfene to support people further in their efforts to fight alcohol dependence," she said.