Understanding Acamprosate: The Prescription Medication that Helps Beat Alcohol Dependence


What is Acamprosate?

Acamprosate calcium is a prescription medication that helps people who are dependent on alcohol to abstain from drinking it.

It is used along with psychosocial support and helps to prevent the cravings and urge to drink alcohol that people with alcohol use disorder experience.

Drinking alcohol alters the balance of the chemical messengers or neurotransmitters in your brain. Acamprosate is thought to work by helping to restore the balance of these neurotransmitters.

It's thought that it primarily works by decreasing the excessive excitation that accompanies alcohol dependence.

Acamprosate is similar in structure - an analog of - two neurotransmitters called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and taurine. And while it's not clear exactly how it works, it's been suggested that acamprosate works by targeting GABA and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) glutamatergic receptor activity.

It's also been suggested that it works by supplying calcium.

In 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a branded version of acamprosate calcium called Campral. Campral has since been discontinued, but generic versions of acamprosate calcium delayed-release tablets are available.


Before starting treatment with acamprosate, it is important to ensure that you have stopped drinking alcohol.

In the event of a relapse, which involves drinking alcohol again after treatment has started, it is essential to continue taking acamprosate and to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Treatment with acamprosate should not be stopped in case of a relapse.

Do not stop taking acamprosate even if you feel better. Speak to your healthcare provider about how long you should take this medication for.

Missing doses of acamprosate may increase your risk of relapsing, so it's best to stay on schedule with your medication regimen.

If you have kidney problems, lower doses and blood tests may be required while using acamprosate. If your kidney problems are severe then this medication may not be suitable for use by you.

People who struggle with substance use disorders face a higher risk for depression and suicidal thoughts. If these thoughts occur or become concerning at any point during treatment with this drug please seek emergency medical help immediately.

Acamprosate therapy requires counseling and additional support programs in combination.

Prior to Medication Use

If you are allergic to acamprosate calcium or any of the other ingredients, then it is advised not to take Acamprosate.

Persons with severe renal impairment must avoid using Acamprosate.

Possible Reactions

Acamprosate is a medication that is used to help people who have stopped drinking large amounts of alcohol.

Like any other drug, it can cause some side effects in the body. Some of the most common side effects of acamprosate include accidental injury, asthenia or weakness, pain and anorexia or loss of appetite which might lead to weight loss.

Other digestive symptoms may include diarrhea and flatulence due to abdominal discomfort. Additionally, nausea may be felt while using this medication.

Mental health issues might also arise from using Acamprosate. Anxiety and depression could be some possible mental disorders caused by taking this medication as well as dizziness which could lead to faintness. Dry mouth sensation and insomnia are some other minor problems experienced when using this drug in high doses.

Moreover, Acamprosate also has dermatologic side effects like paresthesia which is an unusual skin sensation like tingling or prickling on your skin surface along with itchiness known as pruritus. Sweating too much can also be another symptom observed while taking Acamprosate pills.

Medication Interactions

If you are taking Acamprosate, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking.

This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and any herbal supplements you may be using.

Sharing this information will help your doctor determine if there could be any potential interactions between Acamprosate and other drugs/supplements.

Some drugs may increase the risk of side-effects or may affect how well Acamprosate works for you. Therefore, it is crucial to provide a complete list of all medications when starting acamprosate treatment.

Recommended Dosage Guidelines

Acamprosate is a drug used to treat alcohol addiction.

When prescribing Acamprosate, it is recommended to take a dosage of 666mg which is equivalent to two tablets. This dosage should be taken three times each day.

It is important to take note that other factors such as age, kidney function and other medical conditions may affect the recommended dosage which should be prescribed by a healthcare provider.

Always refer to the full prescribing information for further details and dosing instructions.

Consequences of Missed Dose: What to Expect?

Missing doses of Acamprosate may increase your chances of relapsing.

If you miss a dose of Acamprosate, take your next dose as soon as you remember.

If it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

Understanding the Ramifications: Effects of Drug Overdose

If you take more than the prescribed dose of Acamprosate, you risk overdosing.

An Acamprosate overdose can result in various side effects and complications. If taken in excess, it is important to seek emergency medical attention or call Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

Taking too much Acamprosate may cause diarrhea. It is advisable to be mindful of your doses and stick to the prescribed amount to avoid this unpleasant condition.

Regularly exceeding the recommended dosage can lead to hypercalcemia or increased levels of calcium in your blood. This situation requires immediate medical attention.

Precautions and Avoidances: Navigating Acamprosate

When taking Acamprosate, it is highly recommended to avoid alcohol consumption. Consumption of alcohol may counteract the effects of the medication and reduce its effectiveness in treating alcohol dependence.

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