Patients treated for alcoholism will be familiar with the medication Acamprosate under its brand name Campral. The excessive intake of alcohol for a long period of time causes a chemical imbalance in the brain. This drug is used to relieve these side effects, stabilize the neurotransmitters in the brain, and reduce the recovering alcoholic’s craving, thus helping the patient abstain from alcohol intake. However, Acamprosate does not cure the withdrawal symptoms that plague recovering alcoholics.
The efficacy of Acamprosate relies on the patient’s willpower to abstain from drinking. The medication has not been known to work if a patient continues to drink despite strict guidelines not to do so. The use and abuse of other substances like drugs and some prescription medicines have also been known to impede the efficacy of the treatment. Acamprosate is most successful when the patient pairs this treatment with attending support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and other forms of counseling.
Acamprosate Dosage And Administration
Acamprosate tablets are taken orally. The tablet must be swallowed whole; chewing or splitting is not advised. It must be taken three times a day, and unlike other prescription drugs, Acamprosate may be taken on an empty stomach. It is advised that the medication be taken routinely at the same decided time each day. The patient must continue the administration of the medication according to the prescription of the doctor. It would be unwise to take more or less than the amount prescribed.
Acamprosate Side Effects
As with other medication, Acamprosate is not without a number of possible side effects. The most common adverse effect associated with the medication is diarrhea. Other side effects include upset stomach, itching, nausea, appetite loss, flatulence, drowsiness, headache, and vomiting. Extreme thirst and muscle weakness have also been recorded. A few more cases of kidney problems have been recorded but are quite uncommon.
There have also been rare cases where patients develop an increase in suicidal thoughts. Feelings of depression, guilt, worthlessness, anxiety, loss of interest, severe sadness, and other emotional issues have also been recorded effects while a patient undergoes treatment.
The patient is advised to inform a doctor in the event of any of the listed symptoms. Although the common side effects are not serious medical problems, it is best to consult a doctor in order to learn how the patient’s body is reacting to the drug.
Reminders Before And During Acamprosate Treatment
Other drugs, prescribed or otherwise, may have a negative interaction when used simultaneously with Acamprosate. This is why the patient must inform the physician if other medication--vitamins, food supplements, and herbal products. It is particularly important to mention if any antidepressants or mood elevators are being taken so the doctor can adjust for the appropriate dosage.
It is also the patient’s responsibility to inform the doctor of any allergies to other medicine. The medical history of a patient must also be taken into account before using Acamprosate. Certain medical conditions such as heart disease or kidney problems may worsen under treatment. These complications are best avoided by informing the physician before treatment begins.
Pregnant women need to notify their doctor of their present condition. This also includes women who are breast-feeding as the medication may affect the child.
In certain situations where a patient who is taking Acamprosate needs to undergo surgery, major or otherwise, it is best to inform the respective doctor so that the amount of anaesthesia or medication for the surgery may be adjusted or even done away with.
Patients whose line of work include the operation of heavy machinery or long hours of driving are advised to refrain from such while taking Acamprosate. The drug’s side effects can impair muscle coordination and presence of mind, which can lead to accidents and injuries.
Acamprosate Lapses In Dosage
In case a patient misses a dose or forgets to take the dose on the required time, the medication must be taken as soon as it is remembered. However, if this is remembered close to the time for the next dose, the second dosage must be taken instead while the forgotten one is missed. The regular schedule for dosage should then be continued.
An overdose in Acamprosate may become a serious medical risk. Its symptoms may include diarrhea, upset stomach, constipation, nausea, and muscle weakness. If any of these symptoms are experienced, the patient must immediately call the doctor to avoid serious health complications.
Acamprosate Pharmaceutical Facts
Acamprosate has the molecular formula C5H11NO4S. Its chemical IUPAC Name is 3-acetylaminopropane-1-sulfonic acid and its molecular weight is 181.211 g/mol. It is available in 300mg tablets under the brand names Acamprosato, Acamprosatum, Aotal, and most popularly, Campral.
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