ACAMPROSATE FOR ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT
- Acamprosate (often referred to by the brand name Campral) is one of three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of alcoholism. Acamprosate is likely the most used medication in the United States for alcohol abuse treatment and is even more common in dozens of countries around the world.
- Unlike other alcohol treatment medications which either reduce the pleasurable impacts of alcohol or create deterring side effects from alcohol use, Acamprosate reduces the brain’s dependence on alcohol. Alcohol use changes the chemistry and functioning of the brain, and these changes become more severe the longer an addiction lasts and the more severe it becomes. When alcohol is no longer entering the body, the brain is no longer able to function in the same way that it has. This leads to cravings as the body enters alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal can be extremely painful, and in some extreme cases, even fatal.
- Acamprosate reacts with the neurotransmitter systems in the brain. Although the exact mechanism by the which Acamprosate works is not fully understood, the drug helps modulate and normalize brain activity that has been thrown into disarray by the cessation of alcohol use. In particular, Acamprosate impacts the glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) systems. Some of the other benefits of Acamprosate are that it reduces symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. In these ways, Acamprosate eases the pain of withdrawal and helps former alcoholics reduce their dependency.