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Does acamprosate make you sick if you drink alcohol?

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Sep 28, 2022.

Official answer


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

Acamprosate is a prescription medication that is used after you have detoxed from alcohol to help prevent the cravings and urge to drink alcohol. It does not help treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

It’s not clear exactly how acamprosate works, but it is thought to help by restoring the balance of chemical messengers in your brain that are altered by drinking alcohol.

Acamprosate works differently to drugs such as Antabuse (disulfiram), which are also used to treat alcohol dependence. Antabuse blocks your body from breaking down alcohol, which causes the buildup of a toxic compound that makes you feel sick if you drink alcohol while taking this medication. This unpleasant reaction encourages people taking this medication to avoid alcohol. Acamprosate does not cause this same reaction. It does not affect the way your body processes alcohol and alcohol does not affect the way your body processes acamprosate.

Acamprosate is used to help overcome an addiction to alcohol. Talk to your healthcare provider if this medication does not reduce your craving for alcohol.

Acamprosate is also known by the name Campral, which is a discontinued brand name of the drug. Various generic versions of acamprosate are currently available.


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