Why is Acamprosate Calcium Prescribed?
Acamprosate (calcium acetylhomotaurinate) is a medication used to maintain alcohol abstinence in people with alcohol dependence. The Acamprosate brand name is Capral. Medication-assisted treatment with acamprosate is used with social support, therapy, and counseling to help somebody who has quit drinking large amounts of alcohol (alcohol use disorder) to avoid relapse.
Compared to FDA-approved treatments like naltrexone and disulfiram, acamprosate is a unique option for alcohol dependence. Unlike its counterparts, the liver does not metabolize acamprosate. This exceptional feature enables its safe administration to patients with hepatitis or liver disease, which often coexists with alcohol dependence, and patients who continue to consume alcohol.
According to the National Institute of Health, consuming alcohol for a long time changes brain work. Acamprosate works by helping the brains of individuals who have drunk large amounts of alcohol to function normally again. But, it does not prevent the alcohol withdrawal symptoms individuals may experience when they quit drinking. Moreover, acamprosate has not been shown to work in individuals who have not stopped drinking alcohol or consume large amounts of alcohol and misuse or abuse other substances, such as prescription or street drugs. That is why before taking acamprosate, alcohol detoxification must be completed as a necessary step.
Along with therapy and other forms of support, this medicine aids those dependent on alcohol in quitting drinking. Acamprosate functions by reestablishing the brain’s average chemical balance of neurotransmitters. You should stop consuming alcohol before beginning this medicine. When starting to take acamprosate, it has not been demonstrated to be effective if alcohol consumption is still ongoing.
How To Use Acamprosate Calcium
As your doctor prescribes, typically three times daily, take this medication orally with or without food. Completely swallow the tablets. Never chew or crush the tablets.
Your medical condition and treatment response will determine the dosage.
To reap the most significant benefits from this drug, take it frequently. Take it at the same time every day to ensure you remember to.
Use this medication just as directed and never up the dosage, frequency, or duration of usage. Your condition won’t improve any faster, and your chance of experiencing adverse effects will increase.
Continue taking this medicine and contact your doctor when you start drinking again.
Acamprosate Side Effects
Weight gain or loss, muscle or joint discomfort, altered sexual desire, or diminished sexual ability may occur. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, stomach pain, lack of appetite, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, lethargy, and constipation may also occur. Inform your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if any of these side effects persist or get worse.
Remember that your doctor has recommended this medication because they believe it will benefit you more than harm you. Many users of this medicine report no significant adverse effects.
If you have any severe side effects, such as mental/mood changes (including severe depression or suicidal thoughts), kidney-related symptoms (such as a change in the volume of urine), fainting, a rapid or pounding heartbeat, changes in your eyesight or hearing, or increased thirst, call your doctor right once.
If you have any significant side effects, such as persistent stomach or abdominal pain, black stools, vomit resembling coffee grounds, or convulsions, seek medical attention immediately.
Rarely will this medication cause a severe allergic reaction. However, if you experience any major adverse reaction symptoms, such as a rash, itching, or swelling (particularly of the face, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist about allergies before taking acamprosate, including those to other medications. Inactive chemicals in this product have the potential to trigger allergic reactions or other issues. To learn more, speak with your pharmacist.
Before using this drug, inform your doctor or pharmacist about all of your current medications, including kidney illness.
You can feel lightheaded or sleepy after taking this medication. You may become more woozy or sleepy after consuming alcohol or marijuana (cannabis). Until you can do it safely, avoid operating machinery, driving, or anything else requiring alertness. Avoid drinking alcohol. If you use marijuana (cannabis), speak with your doctor.
Inform your surgeon or dentist about all the products you use, including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications.
This drug should only be taken during pregnancy if necessary. Describe the advantages and disadvantages to your doctor.
If this drug enters breast milk is unknown. Before breastfeeding, speak with your doctor.
Drug interactions could alter how your medications function or raise the possibility of significant adverse side effects. All probable medication interactions are not included in this document. Keep a list of everything you use, including herbal products, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and provide it to your doctor and pharmacist. Without your doctor’s approval, never start, stop, or change the dosage of any medications.
In case of an Acamprosate overdose, your immediate action is crucial. If the person is experiencing severe symptoms like loss of consciousness or difficulty breathing, dial 911 immediately. If symptoms are less severe, contact a poison control center right away.
Below is a dosage chart providing information about Acamprosate dosage ranges, imprints, color, shape, and tablet versus capsule classification.
|Dosage Range (mg)||Imprint||Color||Shape||Type|
|Acamprosate 333mg||435, 569, 77 1140, or M AC||White||Round||Tablet|
What Acamprosate Dosage Precautions Should I Follow?
Acamprosate itself is not addictive and does not lead to dependence when used as prescribed. However, certain safety precautions can help avoid this medication’s adverse effects or health risks.
Before taking acamprosate:
- Inform your pharmacist if you are allergic to acamprosate, other medications, sulfites, or any ingredients in acamprosate tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Alert your pharmacist and doctor about what prescription and nonprescription medications, nutritional supplements, vitamins, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention antidepressants. Your physician may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you are thinking of, or have ever thought of, harming or killing yourself, if you have ever tried to do so, or if you have used street drugs or overused prescription medications. Also, tell your physician if you have had depression or kidney disease.
- Inform your physician if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking acamprosate, alert your doctor.
- If you have dental surgery, tell the dentist or doctor you are taking acamprosate.
- You should know that acamprosate may affect your coordination, decision-making ability, and thinking. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- You should know that individuals who consume large amounts of alcohol often become depressed and sometimes try to kill or harm themselves. Taking acamprosate does not decrease and may increase the risk that you will try to injure yourself.
- You may develop depression while taking acamprosate, even if you do not go back to drinking. Alcoholism is often described as a “family disease” because it affects more than just those struggling with alcohol addiction. Therefore, alcohol use in families should be addressed by the whole family as a unit.
- You or your family should call the doctor right away if you experience symptoms of depression such as:
- Feelings of sadness.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed.
- Lack of energy.
- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering.
- Sleep problems.
- Changes in appetite or weight.
- Thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so.
Acamprosate Side Effects With Alcohol
Acamprosate does not prevent the immediate effects of alcohol intoxication. It is crucial to inform healthcare providers if you are still drinking alcohol and about all medications being taken, as acamprosate may interact with certain drugs, affecting their effectiveness or leading to potential side effects.
Like most medications, acamprosate can cause side effects, but they are usually mild and subside as the more extended treatment continues. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), this is true. This comparative lack of side effects of acamprosate makes the drug a more popular choice than alternatives. This is especially the case when it comes to liver-related side effects. The most common side effects are gastrointestinal symptoms (such as mild diarrhea or loose bowel movements).
Nevertheless, you should tell your doctor if you encounter any side effects or other unexpected results. If you have kidney problems, you should discuss this with your doctor. Sometimes a lower dose of acamprosate can be used.
There are several acamprosate side effects, some of which are very severe.
- Hypersensitivity to the drug.
- Anxiety and nervousness.
- Muscle weakness.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Loss of strength.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Vision problems.
- Hearing changes.
- Reduced urination.
- Potential fetal risk.
- Severe renal impairment.
- Extreme feelings of sadness/emptiness.
- Loss of appetite.
Acamprosate Medication Overdose
Acamprosate is generally considered to have a low risk of overdose when used as prescribed. However, following a healthcare professional’s recommended dosage and instructions is essential to avoid potential adverse effects.
If someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the prescribed amount of acamprosate, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. Overdosing on acamprosate may increase the risk of experiencing side effects, such as gastrointestinal disturbances (e.g., diarrhea, stomach pain), dizziness, and headache.
Call emergency services or your local poison control center immediately in case of an overdose. If possible, have the medication bottle on hand to provide accurate information to the healthcare professionals assisting you.
Table of Contents
- Effective Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- Inpatient Alcohol Rehab Treatment Levels of Care, Therapy Types & Detox Programs
- Alcohol Detox Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment
- Alcoholism Treatment, Signs, Complications & Rehab Programs
- The Benefits of Drug & Alcohol Counseling, Drug Counseling for Addiction
- Medication Assisted Treatment for Alcohol
- Alcohol Liver Damage Treatment
- How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last? Timeline & Treatment
- Guide to Signs of Alcoholism. Early Signs of Alcoholism. Signs of an Alcoholic. Signs of Alcohol Poisoning. Signs of Alcohol Withdrawal & Signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
- How Long Does it Take to Detox from Alcohol?
Primary Acamprosate Uses
You can use acamprosate to assist you to stop drinking. It won’t treat your alcoholism but will support your continued abstinence. Only a prescription from your doctor is required to purchase this medication. The benefits of taking acamprosate include the following:
- It protects the liver because it is absorbed through the digestive tract rather than the liver, reducing side effects and improving effectiveness for people with liver damage.
- Generally less severe, fewer and less prevalent side effects than other prescription medications for alcoholism.
- No known drug interactions with other medications or substances.
- Actively reduces urge and cravings for and dependence on alcohol by reacting with neurotransmitters in the brain, rather than reducing the pleasurable effects of alcohol or creating adverse side effects from alcohol use.
It is not advisable to take acamprosate if you suffer from kidney issues or while pregnant. This medication alone is not enough to treat alcoholism, and it should be coupled with therapy and potentially other prescription medications. Furthermore, it is typically prescribed for one year, although many take it for shorter or longer periods. Acamprosate is often taken with other alcoholism medications, such as disulfiram and naltrexone.
If there is a possibility of becoming pregnant, use an effective method of birth control while taking acamprosate. If you miss a menstrual period, immediately report this to your doctor and take a pregnancy test. If you become pregnant, you must inform your doctor to discuss ongoing treatment options.
Your doctor will help you abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. Your health should be monitored throughout your pregnancy, as should your baby’s health after delivery. Even though acamprosate should not be used during pregnancy, animal studies have not shown any ill effects, nor is there evidence that acamprosate causes congenital disabilities.
Acamprosate for Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
Acamprosate is an FDA-approved medication for alcohol use disorder (AUD). It is prescribed to individuals who have already undergone alcohol detoxification and are committed to maintaining abstinence. Acamprosate reduces alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for patients to resist the urge to drink and remain sober. However, it is essential to use acamprosate as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling, therapy, and support groups for the best chances of successful recovery from AUD. Contact We Level Up NJ to get started with alcoholism treatment.
Acamprosate Mechanism of Action Fact Sheet
Acamprosate Brand Name: Campral
Acamprosate Generic Name: Acamprosate Calcium
Acamprosate Drug Classification: Medications used in alcohol dependence
Acamprosate Pronunciation: uh·kam·pruh·sayt
Although the drug’s exact mechanism of action is still under research, it is believed to interact with calcium channels and NMDA receptors in neurons. These two proteins have been linked to the development of alcohol dependence.
How Does Acamprosate Work?
Acamprosate interacts with specific neurotransmitter systems in the brain involved in alcohol dependence. It is believed to modulate the balance between the excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, primarily by targeting the glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) systems. By doing so, acamprosate helps restore the brain’s normal functioning, reducing alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms and supporting individuals in maintaining sobriety after alcohol detoxification.
The exact mechanism of action is not fully understood. Still, the medication’s effects on these neurotransmitter systems are thought to contribute to its therapeutic benefits in alcohol use disorder treatment.
Furthermore, there is no problem with participating in support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery, Refuge Recovery, and Celebrate Recovery while taking this medication. Acamprosate is most likely to be effective for you if your goal is to quit drinking altogether.
If other group members are cautious against taking any medications, refer them to the pamphlet “The AA Member—Medications and Other Drugs,” which states that AA members should not “play doctor” and advise others on medication provided by medical practitioners or treatment programs.
Acamprosate Dosing Information
The usual acamprosate dose is taken three times every day. However, a lower amount may be effective in some individuals. It is available as an oral tablet that should be taken whole and not chewed or crushed. It should be prescribed only after the person has stopped alcohol use and undergone initial substance abuse detox.
Consider using an alarm clock, calendar, or cell phone alert to help you remember to take your medication. You may also ask a friend or family member to remind you or check in to ensure you take your medicine. If you miss a dose of this medication, don’t double the dose at the next scheduled time. There should be at least 2 hours between doses. If this is impossible, skip the dose and wait until your next dose.
Acamprosate Calcium 333 mg
Acamprosate 333 mg tablet is a specific dosage of acamprosate, also known by its brand name Campral. It is a prescription drug for alcohol use disorder (AUD). The acamprosate 333mg strength is one of the available dosages of the drug, and it is typically taken orally in the form of tablets.
Acamprosate may interact with certain medications, potentially affecting its effectiveness or leading to adverse effects. Drugs excreted by the kidneys may interact with acamprosate, as it is primarily eliminated through the renal system. Moreover, patients must inform their healthcare provider about all medications they are taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements, to minimize the risk of interactions and ensure safe and effective treatment for alcoholism.
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Acamprosate and Alcohol-Related Statistics
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for alcohol use disorder involves the use of FDA-approved medications, such as acamprosate, naltrexone, and disulfiram, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to support individuals in overcoming alcohol dependence.
Nearly 95% of Americans battling alcoholism do not believe they require treatment for their condition.
Every year, more than 30% of those receiving alcoholism treatment pay for it through public or private insurance.
In 2019, roughly 14.5 million adults aged 18 and older had alcohol use disorder, representing about 5.8% of the adult population in the US.
Acamprosate has a good safety profile. Clients maintained on acamprosate have not developed a tolerance for or dependence on it, and it appears to have no potential for abuse.
It carries practically no overdose risk; even at overdoses up to 56 grams (a usual daily dose is 2 grams), acamprosate was generally well tolerated by someone taking the drug.
Most side effects are transient and mild, disappearing or lessening within the first few weeks of treatment (diarrhea tends to persist). Although there is a pharmacokinetic interaction by which acamprosate with naltrexone can increase blood levels, there are no other clinically significant interactions between acamprosate and other medications.
Acamprosate vs Naltrexone
Acamprosate and naltrexone are two separate drugs used to treat alcohol use disorder. They assist those dependent on alcohol to stop drinking it in various ways. Moreover, opioid use disorder is treated with naltrexone.
Naltrexone vs acamprosate? What is the most effective drug for alcohol treatment? The choice between naltrexone and acamprosate, or the possibility of using both medications together, depends on individual factors, including the person’s specific alcohol use history, medical condition, and treatment goals. Healthcare professionals, such as doctors or addiction specialists, can assess an individual’s needs and recommend the most suitable medication or combination of medications as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for AUD.
Acamprosate vs Disulfiram
Acamprosate and disulfiram are medications used to treat alcohol use disorder (AUD) but these two work through different mechanisms.
Acamprosate helps individuals maintain sobriety by reducing alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms, enabling them to resist the urge to drink and stay abstinent.
On the other hand, disulfiram creates unpleasant reactions when alcohol is consumed, such as nausea, flushing, and palpitations, as a deterrent to drinking. The choice between acamprosate and disulfiram depends on individual needs and preferences, and healthcare professionals can guide patients in selecting the most suitable medication.
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Acamprosate Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment
Acamprosate is not typically used as a primary treatment for alcohol withdrawal. Instead, it is primarily used as a medication to support individuals who have already completed alcohol detoxification and are committed to maintaining sobriety.
During alcohol withdrawal, other medications, such as benzodiazepines, may be used to manage symptoms and prevent potential complications. Acamprosate comes into play after detoxification to help reduce alcohol cravings and support the individual in avoiding relapse and maintaining abstinence in the long term.
There are certain conditions or situations where acamprosate use is not recommended or should be avoided. Contraindications for acamprosate include the following:
- Hypersensitivity: Individuals with hypersensitivity reactions to acamprosate or its components should not use this medication.
- Severe Renal Impairment: Acamprosate is primarily eliminated through the kidneys, so individuals with severe renal impairment should avoid its use.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of acamprosate during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established. Pregnant or nursing individuals should consult a healthcare professional before using this medication.
- Under 18 Years of Age: Acamprosate is not recommended for use in individuals under 18, as its safety and efficacy have not been established in this age group.
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Acamprosate for Alcoholism Treatment
Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition. It’s a disease of brain function and needs psychological and medical treatments to control it. Alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate, or severe. It can advance quickly or over a long period. Knowing the signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder can aid you or your loved one in seeking help before the problem becomes dependence and addiction. According to the National Institue of Health, alcohol use disorder is a disease that causes:
- Craving: It is a strong need to drink.
- Loss of Control: Not being able to quit drinking once you’ve started.
- Negative Emotional State: Feeling irritable and anxious when you are not drinking.
Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder
- Being unable to stop using alcohol despite problems with relationships and health.
- Requiring to drink more alcohol to achieve the same effect.
- Presence of withdrawal symptoms (shaking, sweating, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, confusion) when unable to use alcohol.
- Spending the majority of my time finding a way to use alcohol.
- Having an urge or desire but an inability to decrease the amount of alcohol consumed.
- Giving up enjoyable activities to use alcohol.
Although acamprosate has proven effective in treating alcohol use disorder, it is insufficient. Before it can be prescribed, the client must have undergone the initial withdrawal and medically assisted detox. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, get them the safest help they need and deserve. We Level Up NJ offers a safe and medically-assisted alcohol abuse treatment program. Contact our team today!
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Top 7 What is Acamprosate Used For? FAQs
What happens if you drink on acamprosate?
Drinking alcohol while taking acamprosate can reduce the medication’s effectiveness and may diminish its ability to help control alcohol cravings and maintain sobriety. It is essential to avoid alcohol consumption while on acamprosate to achieve the best results and minimize the risk of potential adverse effects.
What does acamprosate do?
Acamprosate, known by the brand name Campral, is a medication used to help individuals with alcohol dependence maintain sobriety. It works by reducing alcohol cravings and helping to prevent relapse, supporting the process of abstinence from alcohol.
How much does acamprosate cost?
Medication prices vary based on location, insurance coverage, and other factors. The cost of acamprosate can range from approximately $50 to $200 for a monthly supply without insurance. It is best to check with local pharmacies or your healthcare provider to get accurate and up-to-date pricing information.
What are the common side effects of acamprosate?
The common side effects acamprosate can cause may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and headaches. These side effects are generally mild and often subside with continued use, but it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional if any adverse reactions persist or become bothersome.
Where can I buy acamprosate Campral to treat alcoholism?
Acamprosate (Campral) is a prescription medication, so you must consult a licensed healthcare professional, such as a doctor or psychiatrist, to obtain a prescription and guidance on where to purchase it legally and safely.
What are the effects of acamprosate calcium and drinking alcohol?
Combining acamprosate calcium with alcohol can lessen the medication’s effectiveness in helping control alcohol cravings and maintain sobriety. It is essential to avoid alcohol consumption while taking acamprosate to reduce the risk of compromising treatment outcomes.
What is the difference between naltrexone and acamprosate?
Naltrexone and acamprosate are medications used to treat alcohol dependence, but they work differently. Naltrexone functions by blocking the effects of alcohol and reducing cravings, while acamprosate helps individuals maintain sobriety by reducing alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Acamprosate is primarily used to support alcohol abstinence rather than for acute alcohol detoxification. It is prescribed to individuals who have already achieved initial alcohol detoxification and wish to maintain sobriety.
Acamprosate helps reduce alcohol cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for patients to remain abstinent and avoid relapse. However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate treatment plan and whether acamprosate suits a specific individual’s needs.
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Search We Level Up NJ Acamprosate MAT, Alcohol Detox, Mental Health Topics & Resources
 National Institute of Health on the Use of Acamprosate – NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a604028.html
 National Institute on Drug Abuse – NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/pharmacotherapies/alcohol
 National Center for Biotechnology Information – NCBI – Acamprosate for Alcohol Use Disorder- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64035/
 Food & Drug Administration – FDA – https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/021431s013lbl.pdf
 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Acamprosate Campral. January 2021. [Accessed May 11, 2022]
 U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Acamprosate. February 2017. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a604028.html
 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2005). Acamprosate: A New Medication for Alcohol Use Disorders. February 2017. https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/MS974/MS974.pdf