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Acamprosate For Alcohol Dependence

Acamprosate For Alcohol Dependence

Acamprosate for alcohol dependent patients

Alcohol dependence is an important health risk factor that can lead to disability and death for people in developed and developing countries. Alcohol consumption is potentially avoidable, which emphasizes the need for effective strategies to help people who are dependent on alcohol to reduce excessive drinking and maintain abstinence following detoxification. Psychosocial programs have limited success in preventing relapse after detoxification programs. The addition of a pharmacological agent could provide support in achieving or maintaining abstinence or to cut down alcohol consumption. The synthetic glutamate antagonist acamprosate and naltrexone, which is an opioid antagonist, are used for this purpose.

Treatment considerations

Acamprosate is generally safe and well-tolerated, and adverse effects (pruritus, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and nausea) are rarely severe enough to require discontinuation of therapy.

Acamprosate has no significant drug interactions and in particular does not block opioid drugs.

Acamprosate is contraindicated in severe (Childs-Pugh C) liver failure and LFTs should be a routine part of the work up on commencing acamprosate therapy

Acamprosate can be initiated following alcohol withdrawal, although may have neuroprotective benefits if commenced early in detoxification. As it does not interact with alcohol, patients do not need to be advised to cease acamprosate if they relapse. Cessation does not result in a withdrawal or discontinuation syndrome.

Acamprosate may be given in combination with naltrexone and there is some evidence for benefit of this combination over monotherapy.

Duration of therapy

There is no optimum duration of acamprosate treatment, although benefit beyond 12 months has not been demonstrated.

For further information see package insert, contact the distributor or contact DACAS.

Mode of action

Acamprosate is a GABA-like drug that acts on the same glutamatergic NMDA receptor system affected by chronic alcohol use. When used in alcohol dependent patients, acamprosate is associated with attenuation of alcohol cravings and abstinence from alcohol use.

Advantages of Acamprosate

Acamprosate offers a lot of advantages over other anti-addiction medications. Your chances of experiencing life-threatening side effects while you’re taking Campral are very low. The drug makes it easier to stick with your rehab program by reducing your desire to drink. It also helps you recover from alcoholism by restoring healthy brain function.

Chronic alcoholism can change the way your brain works by affecting its production of neurotransmitters, chemicals that influence your moods and emotions. In people who’ve been drinking heavily for a long time, acamprosate helps to reverse the effects of alcohol on the brain. According to CNS Drugs, acamprosate may be especially useful for treating alcoholism in patients who suffer from liver problems. Acamprosate can be taken in combination with other anti-addiction medications, like disulfiram (Antabuse) or naltrexone (ReVia) to maximize your potential for recovery.

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