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How long does Campral stay in your system?

Campral (acamprosate) is a medication used to help patients diagnosed with  alcoholism to stop drinking and stay sober. Although it can be safe for use as a part of medically supervised detox, Campral treatment is generally initiated 5 days after alcohol cessation. But how long does it stay in the body and remain active?

Continue reading as we uncover more about the chemical composition of Campral, its use, and function. Then, we invite your questions and comments in the section at the end of the page. In fact, we try to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Main Campral uses

Campral is mostly prescribed to alcohol-dependent individuals who struggle to kick their habit and have relapsed in the past to alcohol use. When used along with counseling, social support and adequate alcohol addiction treatment, Campral can increase the chances of success in alcoholism recovery. How does it work?

Long term and excessive drinking changes brain’s chemistry and alters the way the brain works. This is why quitting alcohol and staying sober can be hard for those who have come to depend on drinking just to feel normal. This is where Campral can help those dependent on alcohol to stop drinking. Specifically, Campral helps the brain restore normal function, return to homeostasis, and reduce the desire for alcohol.

How do you take Campral?

Campral is the brand name for acamprosate calcium and is available as an enteric-coated tablet. Each Campral tablet contains 333mg of acamprosate calcium, which is equivalent to 300mg of acamprosate. The recommended dose of Campral is two 333 mg tablets (666 mg per dose) taken three times daily.

Campral is intended for oral administration only, usually taken along with breakfast, lunch and dinner to help you remember all three doses. The tablet should not be split, cut, chewed or crushed. For best results, Campral should be used along with a complete treatment program that will provide psychological support, education and counseling to patients.

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Peak levels and half-life of Campral

Campral is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the paracellular route in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract, after oral administration. The absolute bioavailability Campral after oral administration is about 11%. Steady Campral levels in plasma are reached within 5 days of regular dosing, while peak plasma concentrations average 350 ng/mL and occur within 3-8 hours after administered dose. The terminal half-life of a regular dose of Campral (2 x 333mg) ranges anywhere from 20 up to 33 hours.

However, Campral does not undergo metabolism in the human system and it’s not protein bound. It is excreted exclusively through the kidneys as acamprosate. Because of it’s renal excretion only, some patients should be cautious when taking it:

1. Patients with severe renal impairment are advised AGAINST using Campral at any dose. Patients with moderate renal impairment are advised to reduce dosage to one 333mg tablet a day, but this decision should be made after careful examination and assessment done by medical professionals.

2. People aged 65 or older have a higher risk of diminished renal function and doctors should be careful when prescribing Campral to the elderly. Upon starting Campral treatment in geriatric populations, baseline and frequent renal function tests should be performed.

3. Campral treatment safety and efficacy in adolescent populations have not been fully evaluated yet. Children or adolescents with alcohol dependency problems may be prescribed Campral, but with caution.

Campral drug testing: How long does Campral stay in the body?

Doctors and employers usually do not test people for the presence of Campral. Campral is not a controlled substance because it doesn’t produce euphoric effect. Further, it does not trigger the conditions of tolerance, dependence or addiction in patients who are taking it.

Campral and addiction: Can people abuse Campral?

Clinical trials have provided no evidence that Campral produces any withdrawal symptoms in patients who took it at therapeutic doses. Further data suggests there is no evidence that this medication is eligible for abuse or dependence.

Problems with Campral?

Just like with any other medication, there are also possible problems that may arise in people who are taking Campral. The most common side effects of Campral include:

  • anxiety
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • flatulence
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • intestinal cramps
  • itchiness
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea

Other less common (but far more serious) side effects can include depression and suicide risk. If you experience any unusual problems from Campral, don’t hesitate to inform your doctor and report these problems. If these symptom are severe or persistent, call your doctor immediately.

Campral questions

We hope we have provided all the necessary information to help you make up you mind about initiating Campral therapy or other medications to help you stop drinking. Of course, this decision should be made along with your doctor or general physician.

If you have further questions to ask or if you’d like to leave a comment, please share your post in the comments section below. We try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIG: TOXNET: Acamprosate
PBM Veterans Affairs: Acamprosate (Campral)
NCBI: Neuroprotective and abstinence-promoting effects of acamprosate: elucidating the mechanism of action
NCBI: Incorporating Alcohol Pharmacotherapies Into Medical Practice: Chapter 2-Acamprosate
SAMHSA: Acamprosate: A New Medication For Alcohol Use Disorders
MedlinePlus: Acamprosate

Photo credit: Tumisu

Leave a Reply

5 Responses to “How long does Campral stay in your system?
Julie
2:49 pm October 5th, 2015

What would happen if you only took one dose in the morning and not the other two? Would it be less effective? Could alcohol be consumed?

5:27 pm October 9th, 2015

Hi Julie. That’s not how Campral should be taken. But, effects would still be felt if alcohol is consumed because Campral’s half-life is between 20 and 33 hours. So, drinking is not recommended at all while taking Campral therapy.

James
9:04 pm February 7th, 2016

How long do the side effects last for? Do I have to take these for the rest of my life?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:00 pm February 24th, 2016

Hi, James. I suggest you speak with your doctor about Campral side effects. Generally speaking, acamprosate is a safe medication. You can find more info here: http://addictionblog.org/?s=campral

Kyle
4:06 pm April 29th, 2016

I was prescribed Campral by my doctor to quit drinking. The first day I took it I ended up having a very bad day and breaking up with my gf. This led me to drink on the Campral. It was not fun. My pupils dilated and I started tripping my face off. The next night I tried to drink again and the same thing happened again. Just a warning….

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