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Campral is licensed to treat alcohol dependence. Although it is not entirely clear how the drug helps people abstain from alcohol, this prescription medication may work by helping restore a chemical balance in the brain that is disrupted by long-term alcohol use. Campral is available as a delayed-release tablet and is taken three times daily. Possible side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and itching.

What Is Campral?

Campral® (acamprosate calcium) is a prescription medication approved to treat alcohol dependence. It is intended for use after a person has stopped drinking (usually after detoxification) and should be used in combination with a comprehensive alcohol treatment program that includes counseling and group support programs.
 
(Click Campral Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes Campral?

Campral is made by Merck Santé s.a.s. for Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
 

How Does It Work?

It is not entirely clear how Campral works to encourage abstinence from alcohol. The drug does have certain effects on two different brain chemicals: glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Because long-term alcohol use can disrupt the balance of brain chemicals, Campral may work by helping to return the disrupted brain chemicals back to normal levels. The drug does not, however, prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The effects of Campral in the brain seem to be limited to reducing alcohol dependence; it does not appear to have any anti-anxiety, antidepressant, or anti-seizure properties.
 
Campral does not work like most other alcohol dependence medications. It will not cause any unpleasant reactions when combined with alcohol, and it is not a habit-forming drug.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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