Acamprosate is a pretty new medication for alcoholism. It is designed to reduce an alcoholic’s cravings, but only after they’ve already stopped drinking. This helps you keep your head straight supposedly and therefore helps to prevent you from falling off the wagon. BUT you have to already have stopped drinking.
You take the meds in time-released pills, usually three times a day. This medication is more positive in its approach than other meds available. It’s not a medicine that causes you to feel guilty about drinking if you slip and take a drink.
If you do drink while taking it, there won’t be any biological repercussions caused by mixing this with the alcohol unlike treatments such as Antibuse.
You may find it strange that I would say that not being made to feel ill is a good thing, almost sounds like I’m encouraging or expecting people to slip and have a drink. This is not the case, I believe that successful recovery is only obtained when the alcoholic is in charge and chooses not to drink. This is very different to taking Antibuse for example where you are in fear of drinking because of the severity of the reaction you would have.
Acamprosate is also known by the trade name Campral.
How does it work
Acamprosate stabilizes the chemical balance of the brain that’s destabilized by alcoholism, by blocking glutaminergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, and activating gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) type A receptors.
This medicine doesn’t work on its own, but in combination with abstaining from alcohol and attending support groups.
There are sometimes side effects. These can range from low or high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, allergic reactions, headaches, insomnia, impotence. People with kidney problems shouldn’t take this medicine. Nor, obviously, should those who are allergic to it.
The U.S. F.D.A. has approved the drug recently, for recovering alcoholics who want to try staying alcohol-independent after they’ve quit drinking.
Acamprosate, marketed as Campral, has been in use in Europe for years (see my experience of Campral by
clicking here). It’s also the first F.D.A. approved new drug in a decade for alcohol abuse. While approving this drug the F.D.A. warned that it’s unlikely to be effective in those who are still drinking.
Of course, you’ve got to consider the side effects before deciding to take any medications and Acamprosate is no different. You’ve got to weigh the potential good against any possible bad. In the end, you and your doctor must make the decision together.
Tell your doctor whether you’ve had unusual and/or allergic reactions to this, or any other, medicine. Also inform him/her whether you’re allergic to other substances, like animals, dyes, preservatives or food items.
The average dose, on the whole, depends on the strength of the medicine. The number of doses daily, and the time between doses may vary as well. Consult your doctor and follow his/her advise accurately.
Taking this medicine may help you or a loved one during the initial first few weeks or months of sobriety. This product on it’s own however is not enough, as part of a complete holistic recovery program though, its use can be beneficial.