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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Acamprosate Calcium (Campral) work as an anti-craving drug?

Short Answer

Acamprosate Calcium helps normalize brain activity and diminishes alcohol cravings. Campral helps reduce the physical distress and emotional discomfort people experience when stopping drinking.

Long Answer

Acamprosate Calcium (Campral) is one of the drugs that is currently approved for anti-craving or anti-relapse treatment in alcohol dependence. Acamprosate Calcium (Campral) helps normalize brain activity, especially in the glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter systems, and diminishes alcohol cravings. Acamprosate Calcium (Campral)reduces physical distress and emotional discomfort people usually experience when they stop drinking alcohol. Unlike disulfiram (Antabuse), people can drink alcohol while taking the medication without experiencing aversive effects. Acamprosate works best for people who have already stopped drinking and who want to maintain abstinence. A review of 15 studies showed that Acamprosate reduced relapse rates in patients with alcohol dependence when combined with counseling; more patients demonstrated abstinence and fewer patients relapsed to drinking. There is evidence Campral effectively maintains complete abstinence in detoxified patients, regardless of disease severity or psychosocial interventions. Dosage: Campral tablet is 333mg. Normal dosage is 1 - 2 tablets 3 times daily. To increase tolerability, treatment may be started at one-half the recommended dose,with a weekly increase of one tablet to the daily dosage. Acamprosate Calcium may take 5 to 8 days to be fully effective. Because Campral tablets are time-released, they should be swallowed whole and never crushed, cut or chewed. It is usually prescribed for up to 12 months after stopping alcohol consumption. For some patients with kidney disease, a standard dose may be adjusted ba a physician. Side Effects: Most people tolerate Campral very well. If side effects do occur they are minor and either require no treatment or can be treated easily. Side effects include diarrhea or less often - nausea and itching.

Additional Information

http://www.medilexicon.com/drugs/campral.php http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/psychiatric-medications/campral-acamprosate-calcium-full-prescribing-information pharmacygateway.ca Pharmacy Practice February/March 2009 Vol. 25 no. 1
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