What Is Acamprosate Used For?

How Does Acamprosate Work?

It is not entirely clear how acamprosate works to encourage abstinence from alcohol. The drug is known to have certain effects on two different brain chemicals: glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Because long-term alcohol use can disrupt the balance of brain chemicals, acamprosate may work by helping return disrupted brain chemicals back to normal levels. The drug does not, however, prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The effects of acamprosate in the brain seem to be limited to reducing alcohol dependence; it does not appear to have any anti-anxiety, antidepressant, or anti-seizure properties.
Acamprosate does not work like most other alcohol dependence medications. It will not cause any unpleasant reactions when combined with alcohol, and it is not habit-forming.

Is Acamprosate Used in Children?

Acamprosate is not approved for use in children (defined as individuals under the age of 18). This does not mean that children cannot use acamprosate; it simply means that the drug has not been adequately studied in this age group. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using acamprosate in children.

Is Acamprosate Used for Off-Label Reasons?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend acamprosate for something other than helping people stay sober after detox. At this time, there are no universally accepted off-label acamprosate uses.
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