A medication used to help patients with alcohol dependence maintain abstinence from alcohol use.


A medication used to maintain alcohol abstinence in patients with alcohol dependence.


Acamprosate, also known by the brand name Campral™, is a drug used for treating alcohol dependence. Acamprosate is thought to stabilize the chemical balance in the brain that would otherwise be disrupted by alcoholism, possibly by blocking glutaminergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, while gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptors are activated. Reports indicate that acamprosate only works with a combination of attending support groups and abstinence from alcohol. Certain serious side effects include allergic reactions, irregular heartbeats, and low or high blood pressure, while less serious side effects include headaches, insomnia, and impotence. Acamprosate should not be taken by people with kidney problems or allergies to the drug.



For the maintenance of abstinence from alcohol in patients with alcohol dependence who are abstinent at treatment initiation


Pharmacodynamic studies have shown that acamprosate calcium reduces alcohol intake in alcohol-dependent animals in a dose-dependent manner and that this effect appears to be specific to alcohol and the mechanisms of alcohol dependence. Acamprosate calcium has negligible observable central nervous sy... Read more

Mechanism of action

The mechanism of action of acamprosate in maintenance of alcohol abstinence is not completely understood. Chronic alcohol exposure is hypothesized to alter the normal balance between neuronal excitation and inhibition. in vitro and in vivo studies in animals have provided evidence to s... Read more


The absolute bioavailability of acamprosate after oral administration is about 11%. The food effect on absorption is not clinically significant and no adjustment of dose is necessary.

Protein binding

Non detectable

Volume of distribution

72 to 109 L


Information currently not available.

Half life

20 - 33 hours

Route of elimination

Following oral administration of CAMPRAL®, the major route of excretion is via the kidneys as acamprosate.


In all reported cases of acute overdosage with acamprosate (total reported doses of up to 56 grams of acamprosate calcium), the only symptom that could be reasonably associated with acamprosate was diarrhea.

Adverse Effects


Information currently not available.

Food Interactions

  • Take with or without food. Food decreases drug absorption, but not to a clinically significant extent.


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6 References
  1. 1 . Williams SH: Medications for treating alcohol dependence. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Nov 1;72(9):1775-80.PubMed: 16300039
  2. 2 . Mason BJ: Treatment of alcohol-dependent outpatients with acamprosate: a clinical review. J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;62 Suppl 20:42-8.PubMed: 11584875
  3. 3 . Mason BJ, Goodman AM, Chabac S, Lehert P: Effect of oral acamprosate on abstinence in patients with alcohol dependence in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: the role of patient motivation. J Psychiatr Res. 2006 Aug;40(5):383-93. Epub 2006 Mar 20.PubMed: 16546214
  4. 4 . Feeney GF, Connor JP, Young RM, Tucker J, McPherson A: Combined acamprosate and naltrexone, with cognitive behavioural therapy is superior to either medication alone for alcohol abstinence: a single centres' experience with pharmacotherapy. Alcohol Alcohol. 2006 May-Jun;41(3):321-7. Epub 2006 Feb 8.PubMed: 16467406
  5. 5 . Tsai G, Coyle JT: The role of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the pathophysiology of alcoholism. Annu Rev Med. 1998;49:173-84.PubMed: 9509257
  6. 6 . Wilde MI, Wagstaff AJ: Acamprosate. A review of its pharmacology and clinical potential in the management of alcohol dependence after detoxification. Drugs. 1997 Jun;53(6):1038-53.PubMed: 9179530