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The text below is about the active substance acamprosate .

what is acamprosate?

  • Acamprosate reduces the need for alcohol.
  • Drug addiction treatment to get rid of alcohol.
  • After 4 weeks you will know if this medicine is working for you. If it works, you usually have to use it for a year.
  • Continue to use acamprosate even if you do drink alcohol once.
  • Side effects: gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, stomach pain and nausea.
  • Take it with some food. Then you will suffer less from gastrointestinal complaints.

What does acamprosate do and what is acamprosate used for?

Acamprosate is a drug for withdrawal .

Doctors prescribe it as an aid to alcohol addiction.


You can read how acamprosate works in addiction to alcohol in the text about alcohol withdrawal.


This drug is used to reduce the need for alcohol.


  • You are addicted to alcohol if you drink more than 21 glasses of alcohol per week (men) or more than 14 glasses (women). Even if you drink to release tension, sadness or fear or if you drink at inappropriate times such as before you go to work. After all, (the need) for alcohol will occupy a very important place in your life.
  • If you want to stop, withdrawal symptoms (withdrawal symptoms) may develop, such as a sick feeling, clammy and cold skin, goosebumps, sweating and nausea. If you then use alcohol, these symptoms disappear. The need to consume alcohol to combat withdrawal symptoms is called physical dependence.
  • There is also a great deal of mental dependence. This means that you will continue to crave alcohol very strongly, sometimes for years after you have stopped. This makes the chance that you will drink too much again.


  • Treatment for alcohol addiction often starts in a drug addiction clinic. Under supervision, one stops alcohol and gets help to get through the first days with withdrawal symptoms. To combat these symptoms, the doctor may prescribe soothing medications such as chlordiazepoxide or lorazepam. Other medications such as clonidine or certain anti-epileptic drugs may also be useful for the first few days. This period is called detoxification or detoxification .
  • After that, they are given drugs to prevent addiction again, such as naltrexone or acamprosate or both.
  • Sometimes the withdrawal symptoms are not so bad that admission to the drug addiction clinic is necessary. You can then try to get rid of the alcohol or reduce the use at home with the help of medicines such as acamprosate and the guidance of a psychotherapist.


  • Acamprosate reduces the need for alcohol. It affects certain body’s own messenger substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain, reducing the appetite for alcohol.
  • You start acamprosate immediately after stopping alcohol, sometimes shortly before the end of a drug addiction treatment.


  • This drug does not have the same effect for everyone. In addition, it is very important to be well motivated to kick the habit.
  • The use of acamprosate includes psychotherapy and social counseling. It is also important to keep using this medicine consistently.
  • Even if you relapse in the meantime and use alcohol again temporarily.

What are acamprosate side effects?

In addition to the desired effect, this can cause drug side effects.

The main side effects are the following.

Sometimes (affects 10 to 30 in 100 people)

  • Gastrointestinal complaints , such as diarrhea. Rarely abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Taking this medicine while eating or with some food will make it less likely.

Rare (affects 1 to 10 in 100 people)

  • Skin rash with itching. Very rarely this indicates hypersensitivity (see Very rare ).
  • Sexual disturbances, such as impotence, less sex drive or, very rarely, more sex drive.

Very rare (affects less than 1 in 100 people)

  • Hypersensitivity to this drug. You will notice a rash, itching, hives, tightness, dizziness or fainting. You may also experience swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat. You can get very short of breath. In these cases, you should immediately see a doctor or go to the Emergency Service. If you are hypersensitive to this drug, do not use it again. Inform the pharmacist that you are hypersensitive to acamprosate. The pharmacy team can then ensure that you do not receive it in the future.

If you have epilepsy and are about to stop alcohol.

  • Consult your doctor first. You may have seizures in the first 2 days after stopping. Your doctor will monitor you more closely.
  • Consult your doctor if you experience too much of any of the above side effects or if you experience any other side effects that worry you.

Explanation of frequencies

  • Regular : affects more than 30 in 100 people
  • Uncommon : affects 10 to 30 in 100 people
  • Rare : affects 1 to 10 in 100 people
  • Very rare : affects less than 1 in 100 people

How do I take this medicine?

Always check the pharmacy label for the correct dosage.


Take without chewing with half a glass of water. If you take it while eating or with some food, you are less likely to have gastrointestinal complaints.

How long?

  • After 4 weeks you should notice whether the medicine is working sufficiently. If after 4 weeks of use you still have too much need for alcohol, further application of acamprosate usually makes little sense.
  • If this drug works well enough, you usually need to use it for 1 year. After 1 year you can try whether you do not consume alcohol without this medicine.
  • However, if you do use alcohol once during this year, you should continue with this medicine.

What if I miss a dose?

You use this drug 3 times a day . Have you forgotten a dose and is it more than 2 hours before you have to take the next dose? Then take the tablet. Does it take less than 2 hours for you to take the next dose? In that case, skip the forgotten dose.

Can I drive a car, drink alcohol, and eat or drink anything with this medicine?

drive a car and eat everything?

There are no restrictions for this with this medication.

drinking alcohol?

This drug is intended to counteract the need for alcohol. Therefore, do not use alcohol.

Can I use acamprosate with other medicines?

There are no known major interactions of this drug with other drugs.

Can I use this medicine if I am pregnant, planning to become or breastfeeding?

acamprosate pregnancy

  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is harmful to the baby. It is not known whether acamprosate is safe for the baby. Talk to your doctor about whether the risks of this drug outweigh the risks of alcohol consumption. If you’re already taking this drug and you’re thinking about getting pregnant, talk to your doctor.


  • Breastfeeding in alcohol addiction is harmful to the baby. It is not known whether acamprosate passes into breast milk and whether it will harm the baby. If you want to breastfeed, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Can I use this medicine if my kidney or liver function is less?


  • Are your kidneys working less well or are you on dialysis? Then consult your pharmacist. The dose of your medicine may need to be adjusted. Whether another drug is more suitable.


  • Do you have mild or moderate liver cirrhosis ? You may use this medication as prescribed by your doctor. Little is known about the use of this drug for liver cirrhosis. In the (few) people with mild or moderate cirrhosis of the liver who took this drug, no changes have been seen in the functioning of the liver, and in the functioning and side effects of this drug so far.
  • Do you have severe liver cirrhosis ? Only use this medication after consulting your doctor. It is not certain whether this drug will affect the way your liver works, or whether cirrhosis of the liver will affect the way this drug works and side effects.

Can I just stop taking this medicine?

You can stop taking this drug at any time at any time. Before you want to stop, talk to your doctor.

Under what names is acamprosate available?

The active substance acamprosate is contained in the following products:
  • Campral
  • Acamprosate

Do I need a prescription?

  • Acamprosate has been on the international market since 1995. It is available by prescription under the brand name Campral in tablets.
  • Sometimes acamprosate is not available in the Netherlands. In that case, the pharmacist can sometimes import it from abroad as the unbranded Acamprosate.