Who should take Acamprosate?
Acamprosate, also known as N-acetyl homotaurine and by the brand name Campral, is a drug used for treating alcohol dependence.
Acamprosate is thought to stabilize the chemical balance in the brain that would otherwise be disrupted by alcoholism, possibly by antagonizing glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and agonizing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) type A receptors. Reports indicate that acamprosate only works with a combination of attending support groups and abstinence from alcohol. Certain serious side effects include diarrhea, allergic reactions, irregular heartbeats, and low or high blood pressure, while less serious side effects include headaches, insomnia, and impotence. Acamprosate should not be taken by people with kidney problems or allergies to the drug.
Campral is manufactured and marketed in the United States by Forest Laboratories, while Merck KGaA markets it outside the US. It is sold as 333 mg white and odorless tablets of acamprosate calcium, which is the equivalent of 300 mg of acamprosate.
It is not completely understood exactly how Campral works in the brain to help people maintain alcohol abstinence, but it is believed to restore a chemical balance in the brain that is disrupted by long-term or chronic alcohol abuse. In other words, it helps the brain begin working normally again.
While Antabuse works by making someone sick if they drink alcohol and Naltrexone blocks the “high” people get when drinking, Campral reduces the physical distress and emotional discomfort people usually experience when they quit drinking. According to Forest Laboratories, the distributor the drug in the U.S., Campral reduces sweating, anxiety and sleep disturbances that many experience during the early stages of alcohol abstinence.
How Is Campral Taken?
Campral is prescribed in 333mg time-release tablets that are usually taken three times a day. For some patients, such as those with kidney disease, the standard dose may be adjusted by a physician. Because Campral tablets are time-release, they should be swallowed whole and never crushed, cut or chewed.
Because the side effects of Campral are few and mild and because Campral is not addictive, it is usually prescribed for up to 12 months after ceasing alcohol consumption.
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