Knoxville, TN (PressExposure) May 21, 2009 -- With today's endless innovations to create more subtle methods for adolescent alcohol treatment, several medications have been provided to effectively reduce and stop the consumption of psychoactive substances such as alcohol. One popular medication used today is Acamprosate, also known by its brand name as Campral. Acamprosate or Campral is a medication used for treating alcohol dependence. It was approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States in July 2004 stating that "While its mechanism of action is not fully understood, Campral is thought to act on the brain pathways related to alcohol abuse."
Campral is manufactured and marketed in the United States by Forest Laboratories, while Merck KGaA markets it outside the US. It is sold as 333 mg white and odorless tablets of acamprosate calcium, which is the equivalent of 300mg of acamprosate.
Effects of Acamprosate
Alcohol inhibits activity of biochemical receptors called N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors, or NMDARs, so that chronic alcohol consumption leads to the overproduction of these receptors. Thus, sudden alcohol abstinence causes these excessive numbers of NMDARs to be more active than normal and to produce the symptoms of delirium tremens and excitotoxic neuronal death. Withdrawal from alcohol induces a surge in release of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate, which activates NMDARs. Acamprosate reduces this glutamate surge. The drug also protects cultured cells in excitotoxicity induced by ethanol withdrawal and by glutamate exposure combined with ethanol withdrawal.
In addition to its apparent ability to help patients refrain from drinking, some evidence suggests that acamprosate is neuroprotective, which means it protects neurons from damage and death caused by effects of alcohol withdrawal and possibly other insults. Acamprosate, as an adolescent alcohol treatment, has been found to protect cultured cells from damage induced by ischemia (inadequate blood flow). Also, the drug protected infant hamsters from brain damage induced by injections of the toxin ibotenic acid, which exacerbates excitotoxicity.
Therapists have cited that Acamprosate should not be taken by people with kidney problems or allergies to the drug. Other side effects of using Acamprosate include:
*Allergic reactions *Irregular heartbeats *Low or high blood pressure *Headaches *Insomnia *Impotence
Research on its Effectiveness
The Scripps Research Institute conducted a double blind study comparing the effectiveness between using acamprosate and placebos in combination with psychotherapy as an adolescent alcohol treatment. The primary end-point evaluated was percentage of alcohol-free days. The researchers concluded that acamprosate is "safe and effective".