What Is Acamprosate Used For?

Acamprosate is used for treating alcohol dependence in people who have stopped drinking and who are participating in some kind of support program. This prescription medication may work to help people abstain from alcohol by restoring a chemical balance in the brain affected by long-term alcohol use. There are currently no off-label acamprosate uses, and the drug is not typically used in children under the age of 18.

What Is Acamprosate Used For? -- An Overview

Acamprosate calcium (Campral®) is a prescription medication approved for treating alcohol dependence. Specifically, acamprosate is approved for use in people who have already stopped drinking (who are currently "abstinent" from alcohol) and who participate in counseling or other support programs.
 
Alcohol dependence (also known as alcoholism) is often defined as persistent alcohol use despite negative consequences, including physical, social, or psychological consequences. Symptoms of alcohol dependence include:
 
  • A physical dependence on alcohol -- Having withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, sweating, or shakiness) if it has been too long since a drink
  • Cravings -- Having a strong, often irresistible urge to drink alcohol
  • A loss of control -- Drinking more or longer than intended
  • Wanting to stop drinking -- Having a desire to stop drinking (with or without successful attempts)
  • Time-consumption -- Spending a great deal of time drinking, obtaining alcohol, or recovering from drinking
  • Interference with activities -- Giving up work, social, or recreational activities or obligations in exchange for more time drinking
  • Tolerance -- Needing to drink larger amounts of alcohol in order to achieve the same "buzz."
     
Alcohol dependence can lead to serious health consequences, increasing the risk of cancer, liver disease, and damage to various organs.
 
Treatment for alcohol dependence should include a balanced approach, using detoxification ("detox"), individual therapy, group counseling, and medications as necessary. Medications that can help with alcohol dependence include:
 
  • Withdrawal medications -- These limit withdrawal symptoms and include anti-anxiety and anti-seizure medications.
     
  • Abstinence maintenance medications -- These help you stay sober once you have stopped drinking. Some of these medications interfere with the pleasurable effects of alcohol, some cause severely unpleasant reactions if you drink, and others (such as acamprosate) help restore normal brain chemistry disturbed by long-term drinking.
     
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Acamprosate Calcium Drug Info

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