Acamprosate (Campral) is a prescription medication that has been shown to reduce cravings for alcohol in alcohol-dependent patients. It is recommended for use as part of a comprehensive program that also includes counseling or other support. While the mechanism by which it works is not fully understood, it is believed to restore the balance of chemicals in the brain that have been disrupted by long-term alcohol abuse, helping the brain to begin working normally again. It is non-addictive, but does have some side effects including fatigue and sexual side effects.

How It Works

According to the U.S. distributor of the drug, acamprosate reduces sweating, anxiety and sleep disturbances that many experience during the early stages of alcohol abstinence. However, it is not intended for use as a detox aid as it will not help with the more severe effects of alcohol withdrawal. Acamprosate is generally taken as two tablets three times per day, so a measure of discipline is required to ensure the drug stays active in the patient’s body. People who have kidney problems might not be able to take this medicine or might need to take lower doses.

People who wish to reduce or eliminate cravings for alcohol and are willing to take a prescription medication three times per day in order to do so.

See your physician to discuss whether acamprosate is appropriate for your situation.

Talking to your doctor

Getting Started with Pharmaceutical Treatment or Counseling

Learn more: Medline Plus: Acamprosate

Learn more: Campral

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