What Kind of Medication is Acamprosate?
Having alcohol addiction is like the brain is telling constantly that you need alcohol the way that you need air in order to live. You want to ignore this voice but your body is telling you to keep drinking. While it is still important to go into treatment for alcohol addiction, there is luckily a medication to help reduce the cravings for alcohol cravings.
What is Acamprosate?
Acamprosate is a prescription medication to use as one of the aids of alcohol dependency, reducing alcohol craving and believed to stabilize the chemical balance of the brain. Acamprosate also stops certain receptors in the brain and activates others. This medication needs to be taken while abstaining from alcohol and still attending meetings and therapy as this is should not be taken as the only way to recover from alcoholism.
How does Acamprosate work?
Acamprosate changes the levels of certain brain chemicals or receptors. What leads to alcohol dependency in the first place is an imbalance between gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA). Acamprosate increases the natural sedatives of GABA and reduces NMDA. This medication must be taken orally three times a day.
What are the side effects of Acamprosate?
Side effects include stomach pains, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, constipation, weight gain or loss, muscle or joint pain, and a change in sexual desire. If any of these symptoms worsen, speak to your doctor about them. Let your doctor know if you are experiencing serious side effects like signs of kidney problems, mental or mood changes, fast heartbeat, fainting, thirsty, or vision or hearing problems. Even though an allergic reaction is rare with Acamprosate, get help if you experience an allergic reaction like itching, trouble breathing, a rash, or dizziness.
What are the benefits of Acamprosate?
Acamprosate is absorbed through the digestive tract instead of the liver which will make it more effective and reduce the side effects of those dealing with liver damage from alcohol. Acamprosate also has fewer side effects than other medications.
How does Acamprosate differ from other treatment medications?
Acamprosate reduces symptoms that can occur when abstaining from alcohol like sweating, nightmares, and anxiety. This medication is not addictive and is prescribed a year after ceasing from alcohol consumption.
What precautions should be taken before using Acamprosate?
Check the ingredients in Acamprosate and make sure that you are not allergic to any of them. If you are, talk to your doctor about it. Make sure to also tell your doctor about your medical history, especially if you have kidney disease. Acamprosate might make you feel drowsy and dizzy so do not drive, operate machinery, or any other activity that involves concentration. If you are having surgery, tell your doctor that you are taking Acamprosate.