Campral (acamprosate)

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Well, a few people asked me to comment on this drug, when I confirmed that I was going to go on a course.

One or two people that currently post have been on it, but in the main, I think I am the only one currently taking it. I'm the oddball, against the tide of nalfemene/naltexone. Please don't read that the wrong way, those two medications allow people to carry on drinking, hopefully in a sensible limited way and perhaps for some, help them to give up. But most importantly, they do allow people the option of maybe small steps at a time, when thinking about total abstinence is too much to bear or to be able to drink but not be dependent.

I detoxed beginning of January, I had about six weeks without alcohol or medication and now about six weeks on Campral. Campral is aimed at people who are looking for abstinence, either because they can never trust themselves with alcohol or their health dictates it.

Although Campral can be started before a detox, or if you take alcohol whilst using it, there are no side effects, but the general medical consensus, is not to give it to anyone who is still drinking.

That is the first thing you notice, no side effects, nothing at all and I take eight other medications. You take two tablets with each meal and don't really notice it. In fact, you don't notice anything, it just kind of creeps up on you. You'll suddenly realise that you've gone three days and not thought about alcohol (unless your partner drinks and you can't avoid it), there isn't an easy way to describe it, it doesn't dull your senses, you are fully cognitive, but you just rarely think about alcohol.

The theory behind it is, that if you've been drinking heavily for a number of years, alcohol has altered your mind and body and that doing a detox, will get you over the immediate physical (cold turkey) symptoms, but not put your body/mind back to normal. Campral is meant to be taken for 12 months and this time allows for want of a better phrase, the 'residue' of alcohol to leave your system. So that at the end of 12 months, you get yourself back, how you were before alcohol got a hold of you.

It is quite a simple thought process really, if you think about it, how can you drink for 20 years every day and then have it out of your system with a one week detox of diazepam or Librium.

So far, it is working for me. Like all other medication, it does take a bit of will power, no pill is a 'magic' pill. But then, I didn't end up arguing with my GP, contacting the GMC, contacting the area prescribing committee, contacting the director of Addaction and importing Campral (in case I had to go it alone) just for the fun of it. That said, Addaction were fairly easy going the second time around (I kept expecting some spanner to appear in the works) and they said okay, did the usual case worker interview, then the health check and then the prescription. They don't even seem that bothered about seeing me, apart from to pick up my prescription and have a 4/6 week visit with the doctor to see eveything is okay. I get the feeling that if they get someone who is fairly self reliant and low maintenance, they leave them alone and concentrate on the ones that need support.

Now, I'm not preaching at anyone here, I've stopped because I have to, if I could still be at the front of the bar, I would be. I haven't grown to hate alcohol, I've just understood that it doesn't like me. However if anyone is trying to stop, then I would highly recommend Campral, it will help you, it will allow your system to wash out the alcohol.

Knowing what I know now, if I couldn't get a prescription for it (i,e, none of the so called alcohol 'help' centres would help), I would buy it online. 

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Thank you for your very helpful post.  I am so glad it is working for you (considering all the hard work you put in to get it!) and you deserve it.

    Pat xx

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  • Posted

    Hi RHGB, 

    Thnks for starting a new and interesting discussion. I think you covered everything that could be of use to all of us. For me, the more information the better in case I relapse.

     

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  • Posted

    Really glad that it's all working out well for you, especially after the marathon you went through to get it!

    It worked well for me when I took it, and as you have found, no side effects.

    My downfall was stop, starting taking it. Being abstinent and thinking i could then drink normally again.

    An excellent review which I'm sure will be of help and interest to many people.

    Good luck

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  • Posted

    Very informative post on campral RHGB so thanks for that. It's good to know it's there and it works if I decide in the future to take the total abstinence route. I'm glad your life is good now too. 

    Im still persevering with naltrexone after several weeks and just drinking at weekends with the pill, 1 hour before. It's great and I enjoy the wine at the time, but feel rubbish the following day. Saturday had about 5/6 of bottle of wine and Sunday 2/3 bottle drank over a 4 hour period so it definately slows you down. Don't like the hangover the next day but not as bad as a binge. Anyway great you're doing so well. Take care 😀

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