Is Campral safe?

Campral is a medication intended for treating alcohol dependent people who are trying to abstain. Is this medication safe or are there any unwanted side effects from its use? We explore your questions here.

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Yes, Campral is medication approved for safety and use by the FDA.

Campral is the brand name for acamprosate. The active ingredient in this medication is acamprosate calcium – a GABA agonist. Used in the treatment of alcohol dependence, it helps people who are dependent on alcohol to abstain from drinking.

Are you wondering whether Campral is safe for long-term treatment? What about safe dosing or possible side effects? We’ll review these issues more in-depth here. Then, we invite your questions and feedback about the safe use of Campral in the section at the end. In fact, we try to answer ALL legitimate enquiries personally and promptly.

Campral safety

Campral is a medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and so far multiple studies have established a good safety profile for the medication. The way Campral works in the brain is by restoring the chemical imbalance caused by long-term alcohol use. This helps to reduce the cravings and the need for alcohol, and increases your chance of staying sober and reaching a successful recovery.

Campral is available only with a doctor’s prescription and should be taken in combination with other behavioral therapies. In other words, Campral is not a “magic pill” treatment for alcoholism. In addition to Campral therapy, you are encouraged to seek psychotherapy or behavioral therapy to help you address WHY you drink, and to prevent relapse.

Can taking Campral cause serious side effects?

There is no evidence that Campral is addictive. Side effects that may occur during the treatment with Campral tend to be mild and short-lived. Campral will NOT make you feel sedated nor does it produce a “high”. Unless you experience any of the side effects listed below, you may not notice anything. However, you should contact your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects:

  • allergic reaction
  • burning, tingling or numbness in arms and legs
  • changes in sex drive
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • itching
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • occasional headache
  • skin rash
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting

Keep in mind that different individuals react differently to medications. Not all possible symptoms may be recorded or listed here. If you feel any other side effects that are unusual or persistent you should also consult your doctor during the treatment with Campral.

Campral safe dosage

Each Campral tablet is 333mg. The usual dose for adults weighing 60kg (132lbs) or more is two (2) tablets taken three (3) times daily along with meals. This means that the recommended individual dose of Campral should total 666mg.

For adults weighing less than 60 kg (132lbs), the recommended dose is two (2) tablets in the morning, one (1) tablet at midday and one (1) tablet at night. These doses are also to be taken at meal times, as you are having your breakfast, lunch and dinner.

How to use Campral safely?

Campral treatment may be a useful part of your recovery process once your body is alcohol-free. In fact, it is important that you stop drinking before starting treatment with Campral. Treatment usually begins once your body has detoxed from alcohol and withdrawal symptoms have settled down. It may take between 2-7 (two to seven days) for the alcohol withdrawal symptoms to lessen and pass. However, Campral is not intended to treat the shakes or other types of withdrawal discomfort you experience when quitting drinking.

Medical professionals can help you during the early period of alcoholism recovery using other treatment approaches and medications to keep you stable as you detox and go through withdrawal. We suggest that you speak with your doctor before quitting alcohol.

Taking Campral with other medications

Campral is not known to interact with other medications. If necessary, Campral can be used with other medications such as antidepressants, naltrexone, sedatives or Antabuse.

Who SHOULD NOT take Campral?

The safety of Campral has not yet been established in pregnant women. Doctors suggest that pregnant and breastfeeding women should NOT take Campral. Similar to many other medicines, Campral can pass into breast milk and may affect your baby. If you are a nursing mother that has been prescribed Campral, talk to your doctor and paediatrician about breastfeeding risks and other possible solutions.

Safety recommendations when using Campral

1. Do not take Campral if you haven’t completely stopped drinking, didn’t go through detox or withdrawal symptoms haven’t subsided yet.
2. Do not take Campral if you are allergic to acamprosate calcium.
3. Do not take Campral if you have kidney and severe liver disease.
4. Do not take Campral if you are pregnant or breastfeeding your baby.
5. Do not take Campral without accompanying psychological, behavioral, and support group therapy.

How long is Campral typically prescribed?

Treatment with Campral usually lasts for one year. During this 12-month period Campral can be safely prescribed by your doctor, but treatment may last for either a shorter period of time or longer than a year. You should keep taking Campral for as long as you need it and your doctor recommends it. There is no evidence that this medication is addictive.

Campral safety questions

If you still have questions about the safe use of Campral, please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia: Acamprosate (Campral) Patient-client information
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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