Acamprosate Side Effects

20August 2020

woman with pink hair high kicking a bottle of wine

 

Not all drugs suit all people, that’s just fact, and when it comes to Acamprosate side effects there are plenty listed. However, the benefit of taking Acamprosate (acamprosate calcium) is that it is effective and non-addictive. Therefore, potentially you can stop taking it without any problems (no dosage reduction to ween off it) and it won’t become something else that you have to get over.

Acamprosate (branded Campral) affects the levels of a chemical in the brain called gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). GABA is thought to be partly responsible for inducing a craving for alcohol. Acamprosate works by helping to restore a natural balance of chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) and is used to help alcohol-dependent patients battle the desire to drink alcohol.

As you will be taking this medicine for a long time (6 to 12 months), it is very important that your doctor checks you regularly for any problems or unwanted effects that this drug may cause.

Acamprosate should be used as part of a complete treatment program starting with a supervised medical detox, counseling and psychological support.

To be clear, Acamprosate is unlikely to be of help to anyone who has not already stopped drinking or gone through a supervised detox. Neither will it be helpful to a person who may be addicted to substances other than alcohol.



Dosage

This medicine will be prescribed at different dosages for different patients, taking in factors such as size and weight. It’s important that you follow the recommended dose correctly, either from your doctors advice or the label on the bottle. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. Do not change your dose unless your doctor tells you to do so.

Description – Oral dosage form (tablets 333mg):

Purpose – To help overcome drinking problems:

Adults—Two tablets (666 mg per dose) taken three times daily.

Children—Usage and dose must be determined by your doctor.

#Important note. Acamprosate is used to help overcome your drinking problem. It is not a cure for alcoholism, but designed to help you maintain abstinence. It is only available on prescription in the UK. Other countries may have different control regulations.

Acamprosate is available in the following forms.

Delayed Release Tablet.

Beginning treatment.

Treatment should begin as soon as possible after the period of alcohol withdrawal, but only after abstinence has been achieved .

Only use Acamprosate as part of a treatment program that includes counseling and support. On it is own Acamprosate won’t do it for you. It is just one strategy in your arsenal for coping with abstinence.

In the event of an alcoholic relapse continue with Acamprosate and the counseling.


Be aware.

In addition to alcoholic drinks, alcohol is found in other products as well. Avoid any source of alcohol by reading the list of ingredients on foods and other products such as some vinegar, sauces, perfume, alcohol based hand sanitisers.

Take this medicine with food or around meal times.

Missed Dose.

If you miss a dose of Acamprosate take it as soon as possible unless it is almost time for your next dose. In this case skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule.

Do not double dose, you may cause overdose!

Common reported side effects of Acamprosate.

As with all medications, side effects vary from person to person. Factors which often come into play can include lifestyle, size, weight, and potentially any other medications you might be taking, although this should have been discussed with your doctor or clinician prior to starting on Acamprosate.

Acamprosate is generally regarded as a clean medication by those in the alcohol treatment profession, meaning that its interaction and side effects are relatively low and any side effects are temporary, often wearing off within a couple of weeks of use. However, no medication can be used without clinical trials and of course the trials will reveal certain effects on a cross section of people. That is what trials are there for and designed to do.

Some reported side effects are listed below. Further information can be found online and also by reading the manufacturer’s data sheet.

Effects may include: –

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Wind.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Feeling tired, drowsy or dizzy.
  • Memory lapses or not thinking clearly.
  • Headaches.
  • Vision problems.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Back pain.
  • Moments of weakness.
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Odd sense of taste.
  • Problems sleeping.
  • Sweating.
  • Itchy skin or rash.
  • Numbness or tingly feeling.
  • Impotence.
  • Change in sexual desire.
  • Decreased sexual ability.

If you suffer any of these problems you would be advised to discuss it with your doctor or clinician, especially if there is no sign of wearing off after a few days.

Also, as with other medications, if you suffer any side effects such as swelling of the face or throat, shortness of breath, severe dizziness, chest pain, bleeding etc then you must seek medical advice or attend A&E straight away.


Storage

Safe storage of all medication is of utmost importance. Keep out of sight and reach of children and vulnerable people.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

References.

https://www.drugs.com/sfx/acamprosate-side-effects.html

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/treatment/

The information discussed on this page should not be regarded as medical advice from a trained professional. It should be regarded as well-meaning researched information based on the personal experience of a recovering alcohol dependent person. By reading this information, you understand that no doctor/patient relationship has been formed, and you must consult your own fully trained medical doctor or alcohol clinician for professional advice.

If in any doubt about this, please refer to the disclaimer page HERE

Why is this information here?

This site is here for the benefit of all and to share information so that the myths, darkness or shame that surround alcohol dependence can be dispelled.

Alcohol dependence isn’t the work of the Devil. It is an illness in many people that is no different from any sort of physical illness. It’s also borne out of peer pressure and the expectations of society.

Any comments, questions or interaction with this article would be welcome. There is no such thing as a daft question, only the one you never asked. Please get in touch below and I will respond as quickly as I can following moderation.

Good luck with your journey. I wish you well.

Paul.

Further Reading

World-renowned Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology David Nutt breaks down the science and effect of alcohol on our health, mood, sleep and productivity and how it travels through our bodies and brains and explains on a practical level how we can make changes to positively impact our relationship with it and understanding of it, thereby improving our quality of life for the long-term.

He examines what the future holds for this normalised drug that governs our society and lives but is becoming increasingly unpopular due to its detrimental impact on our well-being. Drink? will do what Matthew Walker did for sleep, and Giulia Enders did for our Gut, and help us make informed choices, at the very least. David will illuminate our minds on this important and timely subject.

>>> View an example of Professor David Nutt’s powerful insights, or listen to the audible on Amazon <<<



2 Replies to “Acamprosate Side Effects”

  1. Hi
    Just wondering if this does actually help with cravings. I realise it’s not a magic pill, but if it helps then it’s all good ????

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      Yes, Acamprosate does help with cravings. As you rightly point out, it’s not a magic pill that will cure your cravings completely, but coupled with your own coping strategies it does take the edge off.
      Think of it as a helpful weapon in your coping armoury.
      Best wishes and good luck.
      Paul

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