The drug Acamprosate, sold as Campral®, is used (in combination with counseling) to help people recovering from alcoholism to avoid drinking alcohol again. It reduces alcohol consumption in animal models of alcohol addiction.
When a person has been drinking large amounts of alcohol for a long time, it changes the way their brain works. The changes that occur involve two specific neurotransmitters called glutamate and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). In a healthy brain, glutamate is released in order to encourage more rapid communication between nerve cells called neurons, while GABA is released to slow communication between the brain’s neurons. When alcohol abuse happens, the levels of neuron-exciting glutamate rise, while levels of neuron-calming GABA falls. This leads to overstimulation of the brain and an increased urge for alcohol.
Acamprosate is considered a safe and well-tolerated treatment for most patients with alcoholism. It also appears to help patients remain abstinent. This compound is a featured product for neuroscience research. In a recent article on the Journal of American Medical Association discussed a study on Acamprosate to determine its significance in helping people recovering from alcoholism. It included a systematic review and meta-analysis of the benefits for adults with alcohol use disorders. In the final analysis, Acamprosate was shown to be effective in helping people reduce their return to abusing alcohol.
Acamprosate works by helping restore normal brain function of people who have consumed large amounts of alcohol. It works by restoring the chemical balance in the brain in an individual who has recently stopped drinking.
Acamprosate and R&D
Acamprosate does not prevent the withdrawal symptoms that a recovering individual may experience when they stop drinking alcohol. Acamprosate helps to prevent a person from drinking alcohol only as long as they take it. A benefit of Acamprosate is that it will not cause an unpleasant reaction if alcohol is consumed during treatment.
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