What is Acamprosate?
There are a number of medications that are used in the treatment of alcohol abuse, addiction, and dependency. One of them is Acamprosate, which is normally prescribed under the brand name Campral. The drug is thought to stabilize the chemical balance of the brain that alcohol typically disrupts. However, this is somewhat speculative in that it is only effective if the individual is abstaining from drinking alcohol and using support groups in order to stay clean and sober.
Physical and psychological side effects
Whenever Acamprosate is administered for the above reasons, there are numerous side effects that may be experienced. If you notice any of the following side effects, you should contact your physician immediately:
- back, joint, or muscle pain
- dry mouth
- elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate
- increased thirst
- loss of appetite
- nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting
- problems with concentration and memory
- urinating very little or not at all
- vision problems
Although rare, there are a few more serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include; breathing difficulties, numbing, swelling, and or tingling of arms, feet, hands, and legs. Also rashes and other unusual allergenic skin reactions.
There are psychological side effects that you may encounter as well and should be aware of which include:
- confusion or disorientation
- erratic behavior and mood changes
- severe anxiety or depression
- thoughts of self-injury or suicide
Prescription considerations and the drug mechanism
Whenever Acamprosate is taken in conjunction with counseling sessions and support groups it is extremely effective for helping recovering alcoholics to avoid drinking again. It is important to remember that the heavy consumption of alcohol over long periods of time affects the functions of the brain. Acamprosate functions by reversing the process so that the brain functions normally once more.
Acamprosate does not alleviate or prevent any withdrawal symptoms from occurring when a person is going through alcohol detox. If you are still consuming alcohol heavily, the drug will not work. It’s just that simple. In most cases, it will not work if you are abusing other substances such as one of the many addictive street drugs or prescription medications. Finally, if you are allergic to Acamprosate or have had kidney problems, you should not take this medication.
Is it possible to overdose on Acamprosate?
The answer to that question is yes! In the event that this happens to you, call your local area Poison Control Center. However, if the person you are concerned with isn’t breathing or has lost consciousness, you should call 911 immediately.
The primary symptoms of Acamprosate overdose includes:
- constipation or diarrhea
- extreme thirst
- loss of appetite
- muscle weakness
- upset stomach
Another issue that you want to be aware of if you are taking the drug for prescription reasons is that if you should miss your daily dose, try to take it as soon as you realize this. However, you do not want to double up on your dosage to compensate for missing a dose. Do not take the missed dosage if it is close to the time when you should be taking your next dosage.
If your physician has prescribed Acamprosate, there are certain precautions you need to take before you start taking the medication including:
- inform your healthcare provider or hospital medical professional if you are going to have any type of surgery, including dental surgery, that you are taking Acamprosate
- inform your pharmacist and physician if you are allergic to Acamprosate or other sulfite medications
- inform your pharmacist and physician if you are allergic to certain herbal products, OTC medications, nutritional supplements, and vitamins
- tell your physician if you are breast-feeding, pregnant, or planning to get pregnant
- tell your physician if you have ever suffered with depressing or kidney disease
- tell your physician if you have had thoughts of self-injury or suicide
Individuals who drink alcohol heavily oftentimes get depressed or become suicidal. Taking Acamprosate will not decrease a person’s depression or prevent them from committing suicide. In fact, it may cause these issues to increase in severity.
Signs of depression include:
- changes in appetite or noticeable weight loss
- difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
- feelings of anxiousness, guilt, helplessness, sadness, and worthlessness
- lack of energy
- loss of interest in activities you enjoy
- nervousness or restlessness
- planning to or trying to harm or kill yourself
- sleep problems (insomnia)
If you are suffering with Acamprosate issues, do not conceal these different warning signs from those people around you. These may not pass over time so don’t neglect them if you notice that any are occurring. Additionally, you should never allow another individual to take your medication.
Be sure that you keep all your appointments whether it is with your counselor, therapist, physician, or support group if you have suffered with alcoholism and are taking Acamprosate. Finally, always ask your pharmacist or physician any questions you may have about the drug if you are taking it for the first time.
Blue Water Detox is here to help you or a loved one with any issues that you may be having with Acamprosate and can answer any questions that you may have regarding this medication. Our facility also specializes in administering Acamprosate during medical detox for alcoholism as well as a number of other medications that are administered during alcohol medical detox.
If you or a loved one has questions regarding Acamprosate or problems encountered while taking it, contact Blue Water Detox today at the toll-free phone number listed above. One of our medical detox specialists will be happy to help you in anyway possible.