Acamprosate

Acamprosate helps maintain abstinence from alcohol. It is used along with behavior modification and counseling in people who have recently quit drinking alcohol.

Acamprosate Overview

Reviewed: October 10, 2013
Updated: 

Acamprosate is a prescription medication used to help maintain abstinence from alcohol. It is used along with behavior modification and counseling in people who have recently quit drinking alcohol. While the exact way it works is unknown, it is believed to work by restoring the balance of certain brain chemicals in long-term alcohol abusers.

Acamprosate comes as a delayed-release tablet. It is usually taken 3 times daily, with or without food.

Common side effects include diarrhea, gas, and upset stomach.

Acamprosate may affect your thinking, ability to make decisions, and coordination. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

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Acamprosate Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Acamprosate

Acamprosate is a prescription medication used for the maintenance of abstinence from alcohol. It is used along with behavior modification and counseling in people who have recently quit drinking alcohol. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Acamprosate Brand Names

Acamprosate may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Acamprosate Drug Class

Acamprosate is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Acamprosate

Common side effects include:

  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • upset stomach
  • loss of appetite
  • dry mouth
  • dizziness
  • itching
  • weakness

This is not a complete list of acamprosate side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Acamprosate Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • antidepressants such as escitalopram (Lexapro), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), vilazodone (Viibryd), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax), and fluvoxamine (Luvox), trimipramine (Surmontil), amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl), protriptyline (Vivactil), and clomipramine (Anafranil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Zelapar), isocarboxazid (Marplan), and rasagiline (Azilect)

This is not a complete list of acamprosate drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Acamprosate Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with acamprosate including the following:

Suicidal thoughts/actions and depression:

People who drink large amounts of alcohol often become depressed and sometimes try to harm or kill themselves. Taking acamprosate does not decrease and may increase the risk that you will try to harm yourself. You may develop depression while you are taking acamprosate even if you do not go back to drinking.

You or your family should call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if an emergency, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

  • feelings of sadness
  • anxiousness
  • hopelessness
  • guilt
  • worthlessness or helplessness
  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
  • lack of energy
  • difficulty concentrating
  • making decisions
  • remembering
  • irritability
  • sleep problems
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • restlessness
  • thinking about harming or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so

Be sure that your family knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor right away if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider and call between visits if you are worried about symptoms.

Acamprosate may affect your thinking, ability to make decisions, and coordination. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

Patients with moderate renal impairment will need a lower dose of acamprosate.

Do not take acamprosate if you:

  • are allergic to acamprosate or to any of its ingredients
  • have severe renal impairment

Acamprosate Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of acamprosate, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking acamprosate, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to acamprosate or to any of its ingredients, to any other medications, or sulfites.
  • are thinking of, or have ever thought of, harming or killing yourself or have ever tried to do so
  • use or have ever used street drugs or have overused prescription medications
  • have or have ever had depression or kidney disease
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking acamprosate, call your doctor.
  • are breast-feeding
  • having surgery, including dental surgery

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Acamprosate and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Acamprosate falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Acamprosate and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Acamprosate has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from acamprosate, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.

Acamprosate Usage

Take acamprosate exactly as prescribed.

Acamprosate comes as a delayed-release tablet and is taken three times every day, with or without food.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of acamprosate at the same time.

Acamprosate Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you respond to this medication
  • your kidney function

The recommended dose of acamprosate (Campral) is two 333 mg tablets (each dose should total 666 mg) taken three times daily. A lower dose may be effective in some patients.

The recommended dose of acamprosate (Campral), for patients with moderate renal impairment, is one 333 mg tablet taken three times daily.

 

Acamprosate Overdose

If you take too much acamprosate, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store acamprosate at 25ºC (77ºF).
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.