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Generic name: acamprosatea-KAM-proe-sate ]
Drug class: Drugs used in alcohol dependence

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Jun 29, 2023.

What is Campral?

Campral affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in a person who is addicted to alcohol. Acamprosate works by restoring this chemical balance in the brain in an alcohol-dependent person who has recently quit drinking.

Campral is used to help maintain sobriety in alcohol-dependent adults who no longer drink alcohol. This medicine is used with behavioral therapy or counseling support to help prevent an urge to drink again. Campral will not treat or prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Campral may not be as effective if you have not gone through detox and stopped drinking alcohol completely. This medicine is also unlikely to be effective in people who abuse drugs or other substances.


You should not use Campral if you have severe kidney disease.

Campral can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert. Take Campral for the full prescribed length of time, even if you relapse and drink alcohol. While you are taking this medicine, tell your doctor about any alcoholic drinks you consume, no matter how many.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Campral if you are allergic to acamprosate, or if you have severe kidney disease.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had kidney problems.

Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking Campral. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How should I take Campral?

Take Campral exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Start taking Campral as soon as possible after you have quit drinking.

May be taken with or without food. If you routinely eat 3 meals daily, take the medicine at each meal.

Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush, chew, or break it.

Keep taking Campral as directed even if you relapse and drink alcohol. Tell your doctor about any alcohol you consume, no matter how much.

Your treatment will also include counseling support and continued abstinence from alcohol.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Alcohol Dependence:

666 mg orally 3 times a day

-Doses should be taken with meals in patients who regularly eat 3 meals a day.
-Treatment should begin as soon as possible after the withdrawal period (when the patient achieves abstinence) and should be maintained if the patient relapses.
-This drug should be used as part of a comprehensive psychosocial treatment program.
-Lower doses may be effective in some patients.

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

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Campral?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Campral side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Campral: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

Common Campral side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Campral?

Other drugs may interact with acamprosate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Popular FAQ

Acamprosate is pronounced a-KAM'-proe-sate.

Acamprosate and naltrexone are two different medications that are used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. They work in different ways to help people who are dependent on alcohol to abstain from drinking it. Naltrexone is also used for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

Acamprosate was thought to be slightly more effective at helping people with alcohol use disorder remain off alcohol, while naltrexone was thought to be slightly more effective at helping reduce heavy drinking and cravings, according to the results of a meta-analysis which used data from 64 trials.

Results from two small studies, however, indicate that naltrexone is more effective than acamprosate in a number of areas. Continue reading

Acamprosate does not make you feel sick if you drink alcohol, unlike some other medications used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder (alcoholism). Continue reading

Acamprosate usually takes several days to a week to start working fully. About five days after you start taking this medication, you’ll reach a point where the amount of acamprosate in your system will remain at a consistent level if you continue to take it as prescribed. Continue reading

Weight gain is frequently reported as a side effect of acamprosate by people taking it to control alcohol cravings associated with alcohol use disorder. Continue reading

It’s not clear exactly how acamprosate works to help prevent the cravings and urge to drink alcohol that people with alcohol use disorder experience.

Acamprosate is thought to work by helping to restore the balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain, which are altered by drinking alcohol. Research suggests it primarily works by decreasing the excessive excitation that accompanies alcohol dependence.

Continue reading

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Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Campral only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.