This medication is used to help alcohol-dependent patients keep from drinking alcohol. It should be used as part of a complete treatment program that includes both counseling and psychological support. Acamprosate is believed to work by restoring the natural balance of chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters).
Before beginning this medication, you should no longer be drinking alcohol. Acamprosate has not been shown to be effective if you are still drinking when you start taking it.
Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually three times a day. Swallow the tablets whole. Do not crush or chew the tablets.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same times each day. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.
If you begin drinking alcohol again, continue taking this medication but inform your doctor.
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, gas, stomach pain, loss of appetite, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, fatigue, weight gain/loss, muscle/joint pain, change in sexual desire or decreased sexual ability may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (including severe depression, thoughts of suicide), fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat, vision or hearing changes, increased thirst.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: change in the amount of urine, seizures, persistent stomach pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking acamprosate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: severe kidney disease.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: other kidney disease.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Remember that drinking large amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can cause long-lasting problems in your baby, such as birth defects, growth retardation, and learning disabilities. This set of problems is often called fetal alcohol syndrome.
Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use.
Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include persistent diarrhea.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory tests (e.g., kidney function tests) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details. Also, keep all medical appointments and attend all of your counseling and support group meetings.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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