What is Acamprosate? 

Acamprosate is essentially an anti-craving medication that helps to reduce the desire for alcohol. In combination with counselling, it works on the chemical changes that have taken place in the brain during the years that you have been drinking alcohol, which can help you to maintain abstinent.

It does not prevent the harmful effects of continuous alcohol abuse. Acamprosate will be started as soon as possible after you have stopped drinking alcohol if you are concerned that cravings for alcohol may result in you drinking again. Acamprosate is available as a generic formulation as well as the Campral brand.

Please speak to your clinic doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you would like more information about how Acamprosate works.

How to take Acamprosate

Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure. 

Take three doses daily (individual dose is based on your body weight). Swallow the tablet whole. Do not chew or crush the tablet as this may damage the gastro-resistant coating.

If you weigh 60 kg or more, the recommended dose is two tablets, three times a day with meals (total six tablets per day).

If you weigh less than 60 kg, the recommended dose is two tablets in the morning, one at noon and one at night with meals (total four tablets per day). 

It is recommended you take Acamprosate for one year. 

How much food to take with Acamprosate

Take with meals. If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (with a snack). If when you remember, it is nearly time for your next dose then leave out the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Side effects

Acamprosate, like all other medicines, has some side effects although not everybody gets them. Most are minor and will settle down within a few days or weeks. Most common side effects include gastrointestinal upset (such as diarrhoea), nausea and decreased libido. Further information is available in the manufacturer's printed information leaflet which is inside the medication pack.

If you experience any side effects, and either they are troubling you or you develop any new symptoms after you start Acamprosate, tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist who will tell you what to do. 

What medicines should I avoid with Acamprosate? 

It is important to tell your doctor, nurse, and pharmacist of other medications (including over-the-counter medication) you are taking, and any new medication(s) started while you are on treatment to ensure they are compatible with Acamprosate. It is also important to inform them if you have had any previous allergic reaction(s) to medication.

To date, Acamprosate does not have major drug interactions documented. However, if you are prescribed diuretics (water tablets), please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know.