Campral (Acamprosate Calcium) Patient Information
Find out why Campral is prescribed, side effects of Campral, and Campral's role in helping people who are alcohol-dependent - in plain English.
Campral Patient FAQs
Q - Is there a difference between alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse?
A -Yes. The difference is in the degree of symptoms. People who are alcohol-dependent may have a physical addiction and have lost the ability to control their drinking. With physical dependence, their bodies need alcohol and without it, they go into withdrawal. People who abuse alcohol are able to control the amount of alcohol they consume, are not physically dependent on it, and will not experience withdrawal symptoms when they do not drink.
Q - Is there a difference between alcoholism and alcohol dependence?
A - Alcohol dependence is the medical term for alcoholism.
Q - How can I tell if I or someone I'm close to is alcohol dependent?
A - That is not always a simple thing to do. But, on this Campral website, you will find a questionnaire that can help you answer this question. Download the questionnaire, fill it out, and discuss it with your doctor or the person you are trying to help.
Q - What is the best way to bring up the subject of drinking with a friend or family member?
A - There's no easy answer to this question because every situation is different. Begin by discussing the problem with your family physician. Your physician can steer you to local resources that you and your family member or friend may want to explore together.
Q - How do I know if I am a candidate for Campral (acamprosate calcium) Delayed-Release Tablets?
A - Campral is for people who are alcohol-dependent, not for those who abuse alcohol. Candidates must be committed to abstaining from alcohol and abstinent when they begin treatment with Campral. Campral must be prescribed by a physician. If you think you or someone you know is a candidate for Campral, speak to your physician.
Q - How is Campral different from other medicines for alcohol dependence?
A - Campral is the first new medical treatment approved for alcoholism in in a decade. It works differently from other treatments. Antabuse (disulfiram) works by making you nauseous when you drink. ReVia (naltrexone) reduces the pleasure of drinking. Campral helps reduce both the physical and emotional discomfort (e.g. sweating, anxiety, sleep disturbances) many people feel in the weeks and months after they've stopped drinking. This makes it easier for them not to drink after the immediate withdrawal period. It is the first medication thought to impact the biological and medical processes of the disease.
Q - Is Campral addictive?
A - No. Campral is not addictive and is not listed by the FDA as a controlled substance.
Q - Will Campral make me stop drinking?
A - Campral will not prevent you from drinking. Only you can do that. But it will make it easier for you to resist drinking and get yourself moving along the road to recovery. Campral works best when it is part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes counseling and support.
Q - How does Campral help me maintain abstinence?
A - As is true of many medicines, we do not know exactly how Campral works. Currently, researchers believe that Campral acts on the complex processes of the nervous system by restoring a balance that was altered by continued alcohol consumption.
Q - Does Campral prevent withdrawal symptoms?
A - No. None of the alcohol dependence therapies will prevent acute withdrawal symptoms. Speak to your doctor about what to expect during withdrawal and how to deal with it.
Q - Does Campral have side effects?
A - Campral is well tolerated. As is often the case with many medications, Campral does have side effects but does not pose any serious safety problems. In clinical trials patients reported a range of side effects, including asthenia, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea, and itching. Side effects were generally mild and few patients discontinued treatment due to them. In fact, in trials lasting longer than 6 months, the same percentage of patients discontinued treatment due to side effects in both the Campral and placebo groups.
Q - How do I take Campral?
A - Campral is a tablet. The recommended dose is two 333 mg tablets 3 times per day.
Q - Can I take Campral with food?
A - Yes. You can take your Campral dose with food. Some people find that coordinating their Campral with meals makes it easier to keep on schedule.
Q - If I relapse while I'm taking Campral, does that mean Campral is not for me?
A - Not necessarily. If you relapse, you should continue taking your Campral as prescribed by your doctor. Speak to your doctor about relapse problems.
Q - How long do I need to take Campral?
A - Clinical trials have shown Campral is effective and safe for one year. You and your doctor will decide the best course of treatment for you.
Q - What is a "Standard Drink"?
A - While alcohol dependence is not defined by how much alcohol a person consumes, it may be useful to estimate alcohol consumption to determine health risks and other potential problems. Currently, there is no universally accepted definition of a standard drink. However, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA, NIH) has published a guideline that establishes the relative amounts of alcohol in different drinks (Dawson, 2003).
|12 oz. of beer or cooler||8-9 oz. of malt liquor||5 oz. of table wine||3-4 oz. of fortified wine
(such as sherry or port) 3.5oz.
|2-3 oz. of cordial liqueur or aperitif||1.5 oz. of brandy
(a single jigger)
|1.5 oz. of spirits
(a single jigger of 80-proof gin, vodka, whisky, etc.
|Note: People buy many of these drinks in containers that hold multiple standard drinks. For example, malt liquor is often sold in 16, 22 or 40 oz. containers that hold between two and five standard drinks, and table wine is typically sold in 25 oz. (750ml.) bottles that hold five standard drinks.|
Q - What is "At Risk" drinking?
A - Physicians use terms such as "heavy," "chronic heavy," "harmful," "hazardous," and "at risk" drinking interchangeably to describe alcohol consumption that meets or exceeds the following limits:
- For men: more than 14 drinks per week or more than 4 drinks per occasion
- For women: more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion
People whose drinking exceeds these levels should be assessed for alcohol-related problems.
Last Updated: 23 January 2019
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD