Medically reviewed on February 12, 2018.
What is acamprosate?
Acamprosate 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.
Acamprosate is used together with behavior modification and counseling support to help a person who has recently quit drinking alcohol continue to choose not to drink.
Acamprosate is not likely to be helpful if you have not already quit drinking or undergone detoxification. It may not help you if you are also addicted to other substances besides alcohol.
Acamprosate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use acamprosate if you have severe kidney disease.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use acamprosate if you are allergic to it, or if you have severe kidney disease.
Acamprosate will not treat or prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
To make sure acamprosate is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any type of kidney problem.
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking acamprosate. 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.
It is not known whether acamprosate will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.
It is not known whether acamprosate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take acamprosate?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Start taking acamprosate as soon as possible after you have quit drinking.
You may take acamprosate with or without food.
Do not crush, chew, or break a delayed-release tablet. Swallow it whole.
Take this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if you relapse and drink alcohol. While you are taking acamprosate, tell your doctor about any alcoholic drinks you consume, no matter how many.
Use acamprosate regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Acamprosate is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes counseling support and continued abstinence from alcohol.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
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 acamprosate?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Acamprosate side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
mood or behavior changes;
thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself;
swelling in your hands or feet; or
pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest.
Common side effects may include:
pain or weakness;
itching or sweating;
sleep problems (insomnia);
dry mouth; or
numbness or tingly feeling.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Acamprosate dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Alcohol Dependence:
666 mg orally three times a day
Usual Geriatric Dose for Alcohol Dependence:
666 mg orally three times a day
Since geriatric patients may be more prone to a decrease in renal function, the manufacturer advises greater care in dose selection and close monitoring of renal function during therapy in this population.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Alcohol Dependence:
There are no data on the safety and efficacy of acamprosate in this population.
What other drugs will affect acamprosate?
Other drugs may interact with acamprosate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.02.
More about acamprosate
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- Drug class: drugs used in alcohol dependence
Other brands: Campral