Acamprosate is a drug which is used to get over drinking problem. It does not treat alcoholism but helps in keeping abstinence. It is a prescription drug available in two forms of tablet: slow release form and enteric coated.
2 What to Know Before Using
It is important that the doctor let the patient know about all the details associated with drug. Patient should clarify all the doubts or any queries in mind about the drug usage and its effects.
Detailed history of a patient is extremely important prior to any medical therapy and in this case it is more likely that a drug be started after it. Allergies or any history of allergy to any drug, food, preservatives, dyes or animal products; history of drug usage, past medical or surgical procedure should also be kept in record to predict any drug interaction.
Physical examination should be done before starting this drug so that any physiological or pathological condition by which this drug may interfere may be ruled out.
Age specific analysis of patients helps in keeping a safety profile. Some drugs are suitable for one age group and lethal for the other; hence it is necessary to have assessment while keeping age in view. Studies have not been done in children while studies in elderly patients revealed that side effects are similar to those of other adults. Age-related kidney disease, however, is more common in elderly and dosage must be adjusted according to it. There is not enough evidence of special effects to baby or the mother in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Drug interactions may occur when multiple drugs are used together. It is important for the patient to avoid any new drug while being on this medication. Even the use of over the counter drugs should begin after consulting a doctor. The effects of tobacco, alcohol and certain foods should also be discussed with the physician.
Other medical conditions may lead to severe effects on the body and may also decrease the efficacy and removal of drug. The patient should inform the doctor about these conditions in detailed medical history to avoid complications. The conditions which may result in more harm include depression, suicidal thoughts and kidney disease.
Acamprosate is a prescription drug and can only be obtained after consultation. It is started in a program aided by counselling and support.
Psychological and moral support of the patient is necessary to improve the condition much faster. It should be started as soon as possible after alcohol withdrawal.
It is important that the patient observe complete abstinence from alcohol for which it is necessary to avoid beverages and avoid any other food products which include alcohol like sauces or vinegar.
4 Precautions to Take
Precautions are vital for any therapy to work at optimum rate. These are also necessary to decrease the side effects or at least make these manageable. Some precautions which should be observed while being on this drug include:
Regular visits to the doctor should be made to check its progress.
Consult your physician or a psychiatrist if there are any psychological impacts like agitation, depression or suicidal thoughts.
Avoid driving, use of machinery or any work which require one to be alert as acamprosate causes dizziness and drowsiness
5 Potential Side Effects
Like any other drug, acamprosate results in unwanted effects on the body. It is important that the patient adhere to the therapy and consult the physician in case of any effect.
Some common side effects include severe sadness or emptiness, fear and severe depression. There are also some symptoms associated with overdose like abdominal pain, confusion, constipation, diarrhea, dry mouth, headache incoherent speech, increased urination, metallic taste, muscle weakness, nausea, increased thirst, unusual tiredness, vomiting and weight loss.
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