From the book
Abilify see AripiprazoleGeneric Name
Type of Drug
Synthetic neurochemical similar to the amino acid homotaurine.
Acamprosate is used to help alcoholic patients stay alcohol•free after they have stopped drinking. Unlike other drugs used to help people stay away from alcohol, it does not cause people to have a physical reaction to alcohol. Acamprosate restores the balance between two chemical systems in the brain, glutamate and GABA, that are known to become unbalanced in alcoholics, but its exact action is not known. It may reduce alcohol craving. Acamprosate should be part of a program that includes counseling and support, and it should be started as soon as possible after alcohol with•drawal and continued even if the patient starts drinking again. This medication has not been proven to help patients if they are still drinking when they start treatment. Acamprosate has not been studied in patients who abuse other substances together with al•cohol. Tolerance or addiction has not developed with acamprosate. It passes out of the body through the kidneys.
Cautions and Warnings
Do not take acamprosate if you are allergic or sensitive to any of its ingredients or if you have severe kidney disease. People with moderate kidney disease require a lower dosage of acamprosate.
Acamprosate does not eliminate or ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms. People taking acamprosate may become depressed or have suicidal thoughts.
Acamprosate can affect your judgment, thinking, or coordina•tion. Do not drive or operate dangerous machinery if you are tak•ing this medicine.
Possible Side Effects
Almost 2 of every 3 people who take this medicine will expe•rience a drug side effect.
• Most common: diarrhea.
• Common: headache, weakness, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.
• Less common: pain, accidental injuries, nausea, stomach gas, dizziness, dry mouth, tingling in the hands or feet, itch•ing, sweating, chest pain, loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, impotence, abnormal vision, rash, vomiting, and constipation.
• Rare: heart or kidney failure, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and urinary tract infections. Rare side effects can occur in almost any part of the body. Contact your doctor if you experience any side effect not listed above.
• Mixing acamprosate with naltrexone can increase the levels of both drugs in the blood, but no dose adjustments are needed.
Acamprosate may be taken without regard to food or meals.
Adult: Two 333•mg tablets 3 times a day. Child: not recommended.
The only symptom associated with acamprosate overdose has been diarrhea. Overdose victims should be taken to a hospital emergency room for observation and treatment. ALWAYS bring the prescription bottle or container.
Call your doctor if you are breast•feeding, pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant while taking this medicine.
Take care while driving a car or performing complex tasks.
Author: Harold M. Silverman
Harold M. Silverman, Pharm. D., has been practicing health-care public affairs and communications for over fifteen years. He is the co-author of Bantam's The Vitamin Book, and author of the chapter on generic drugs in The Merck Manual: Home Edition.
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