Acamprosate (Campral): A Gold Standard In The Treatment Of Alcoholism 

Acamprosate is sold under the brand name Campral. It is an FDA-approved medication used to treat alcohol use disorder. Acamprosate is prescribed as a part of the comprehensive care plan for recovery maintenance programs. It has been shown to:

  1. Reduces alcohol cravings 
  2. Restores the normal functioning of the brain. 
  3. Stabilize alcohol receptors in the brain.

Acamprosate Mechanism Of Action 

Acamprosate acts on 2 receptors:

  1. NMDA receptors: N-methyl-D-aspartate controls the release of glutamate, which is involved in memory and mood regulation.
  2. GABA receptors (Gamma-aminobutyric acid): play an important role in emotional regulation, sleep cycles, and cognitive functions.

Acamprosate maintains the balance between GABA and glutamate neurotransmitters to ease withdrawal symptoms. It also helps the body to increase the production of endorphins (a neurotransmitter that makes you happy). 


What You Should Know About Acamprosate?

Before taking acamprosate (Campral) please note the following:

  1. This medication is effective when you have completely stopped drinking alcohol and are now experiencing alcohol withdrawal. This medicine will not work if you continue drinking.
  2. Campral may interact with other medications. It is best to inform your doctors if you are on other medications.
  3. Acamprosate should be used as a part of a comprehensive care plan. 
  4. Please inform your doctor about your mental health condition. Acamprosate is not recommended if you are suffering from depression.
  5. Do not stop taking this medicine when you feel better. Only discontinue the use after discussing it with your healthcare provider.
  6. In case of a relapse, take this medication as advised and quickly inform your doctor. 
  7. Discuss the use with your doctor if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.

An Analysis of Benefits And Side Effects Of Acamprosate

Acamprosate is a widely used gold-standard medication for the treatment of alcoholism. It reduces the brain’s dependence on alcohol. Its greatest benefit is tackling constant alcohol cravings that result in increasing the chances of a relapse. When you are no longer craving alcohol, you can focus on more important things, such as healing your mind and body.

Another main advantage is that this drug is broken down in the intestinal tract instead of the liver. Hence, there is no extra burden on the liver. This is beneficial for those who are focusing on restoring their liver health after alcoholism.

Campral is usually well-tolerated by most patients. However, potential side-effects may include:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Nausea
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Stomach upset 
  5. Sweating
  6. Anxiety
  7. Insomnia

Some less common severe side effects include:

  1. Fainting
  2. Less urination
  3. Suicidal thoughts

Campral is generally safe to use, and the potential side effects outweigh the benefits. Still, we recommend discussing your concerns with your doctor before starting this medication.

Effectiveness Of Acamprosate In The Light Of Recent Research

Over time, several researchers have established the effectiveness of Acamprosate in alcoholism treatment over the conventional ‘quitting cold turkey’ approach. A few of the outcomes are listed below:

  1. Acamprosate reduced the risk of relapse or return to drinking after detox by 86%.
  2. An increased number of days of alcohol abstinence by 11% was also reported in comparison to the placebo group.
  3. Patients who received acamprosate treatment had a 9% lower risk of relapse after completing the treatment compared to the placebo group.

However, the research also notes that this medicine is effective only after complete detox or abstinence from alcohol. 

How Should I Take Acamprosate?

The dose of Campral differs from patient to patient. It usually depends on:

  1. How well you are tolerating this drug.
  2. Your diagnosis
  3. Your severity of addiction

Generally, it is recommended that you take this medication 3 times a day with the following considerations:

  1. Try taking this medication at the same time every day for maximum benefits
  2. Do not chew, crush, or break this medication.
  3. Do not increase or decrease the dose based on how you feel. Always discuss your dose with your doctors.
  4. This medicine may or may not be taken with food. 

Please note: Please follow your doctor and pharmacist’s instructions for any questions. The information presented is not to be used as medical advice.

What To Do In Case Of Missed Dose?

If you forget to take your Campral dose, please take it as soon as you remember. However, if the time for your next scheduled dose is near, please skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Please do not take two doses to compensate for the missed dose.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program At ChoicePoint

Now that you have all the relevant information about Acamprosate, the next step is to start your recovery journey. ChoicePoint offers acamprosate prescriptions through medication-assisted treatment programs. 

Our MAT program is combined with solution-focused behavioral therapy and counseling to help you gain the maximum benefits. Our recovery goals include:

  1. Helping clients set and achieve realistic goals.
  2. Help you completely abstain from alcohol.
  3. Offer ongoing support and guidance to help you heal beyond physical symptoms.
  4. Offer aftercare programs for lasting recovery.
  5. Offer psychological help to treat the mental health implications of alcoholism.
  6. Offer modern and latest strategies for holistic healing.

Furthermore, according to the ASAM guidelines, we offer all levels of care to offer the best treatment suited to your needs. These include:

  1. Medical Detox
  2. Outpatient Treatment
  3. Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  4. Partial Hospitalization Program (HIOP/PHP)
  5. Inpatient Treatment
  6. Aftercare and Relapse Prevention Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Acamprosate A GABA Agonist?

Acamprosate is an NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist). It binds to GABA receptors and inhibits GABA B receptors.

Is Acamprosate The Same As Naltrexone?

Both acamprosate and naltrexone are used in alcohol addiction treatment. However, the mechanism of both drugs is different. Acamprosate acts on glutamate and GABA receptors, whereas Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist and influences dopamine release.

What Is The Difference Between Acamprosate And Disulfiram?

Acamprosate is prescribed to control recurrent alcohol cravings, whereas disulfiram encourages alcohol abstinence by producing a series of uncomfortable reactions when a person consumes alcohol. 

What Is The Drug Classification Of Acamprosate?

Acamprosate is a neurotransmitter analog (which resembles the structure of neurotransmitters) used in the treatment of alcoholism.

Is Acamprosate Safe For The Liver?

Yes, acamprosate is safe for the liver. No serious side effects have been reported on the liver as a result of this medication use. 

Medical Disclaimer:

ChoicePoint aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use disorder and mental health issues. Our team of licensed medical professionals research, edit and review the content before publishing. However, this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For medical advice please consult your physicians or ChoicePoint's qualified staff.