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Campral vs Naltrexone

Difference Between Campral vs Naltrexone. What Is Campral? What Is Naltrexone? Campral: Best Uses, and Side Effects. Campral Side Effects. Naltrexone Vivitrol Side Effects. Campral vs Naltrexone: Pros and Cons. Campral Uses. Naltrexone Uses.

What Is Campral?

Acamprosate (calcium acetylhomotaurinate) is a medication used to maintain alcohol abstinence in people with alcohol dependence. Its brand name is Campral. It is commonly prescribed as part of Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) after undergoing medical detox treatment. It is used along with social support for alcoholics, solution-focused therapy, and counseling to help somebody who has quit drinking large amounts of alcohol (alcohol use disorder) for relapse prevention. It is frequently used to help people who are already in recovery control alcohol cravings.

Consuming alcohol for a long time changes the way the brain works. Acamprosate (Campral) works by helping the brains of individuals who have drunk large amounts of alcohol to work normally again. Campral works by helping to repair the damage alcohol causes to people’s brain chemistry. Alcohol is a depressant, It disrupts the neurochemicals that regulate feelings of anxiety. The longer a person consumes alcohol excessively, the worse this imbalance becomes, which is one primary reason why people crave alcohol. Campral restores this chemical balance, and can therefore reduce the craving to drink. It is largely ineffective against cravings if you are still drinking.

Campral vs Naltrexone
Studies have shown that just getting help is one of the most important factors in treating alcohol
addiction; the precise type of treatment received is not as important.

It is not advisable to take Acamprosate (Campral) if you suffer from kidney issues or while pregnant. This medication alone is not enough to treat alcoholism, and it should be coupled with therapy and potentially other prescription medications. Acamprosate is most typically prescribed for a period of one year, although many users take it for shorter or longer periods of time. Acamprosate is often taken in combination with other alcohol use disorder medications such as Naltrexone and Disulfiram. Acamprosate is available as an oral tablet that should be taken whole and not chewed or crushed. It should be prescribed only after the person has stopped alcohol use and gone through initial medical detox.

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What Is Naltrexone?

Intramuscular extended-release Naltrexone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both opioid use disorder/opioid addiction treatment and alcohol use disorder/alcoholism treatment as part of the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) option. Vivitrol is the brand name of Naltrexone. Vivitrol shot can be used to help people maintain abstinence while recovering from alcohol or heroin addiction. While naltrexone hydrochloride is for both daily and once-a-month dosages, Vivitrol is injected once a month. A Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) is required for the long-acting injectable formulation to ensure that the benefits of the Naltrexone outweigh its risks.

Campral vs Naltrexone
Alcoholism is a complex disorder that can involve virtually every aspect of an individual’s functioning—in the family, at work and school, and in the community.

Is Naltrexone addictive? Naltrexone is considered to have no abuse potential and does not result in the development of physical dependence. An individual must obtain a prescription to legally obtain it, Naltrexone functions by blocking the effect that opioids, such as heroin or opioid prescription drugs, have on the brain. It reduces the cravings that many people experience after they quit. With alcohol, it is not certain how Naltrexone actually works, but it seems to change how the brain responds to alcohol. There appear to be no significant dangers associated with combining naltrexone and alcohol. Studies support the notion that naltrexone effectively reduces alcohol intake but is not effective in promoting abstinence from alcohol.

Naltrexone helps treat alcohol dependence by reducing cravings for alcohol. In one clinical trial, individuals who used the approved dose of Naltrexone had a 25% greater decrease in heavy drinking days than individuals who took a placebo (no treatment). Heavy drinking days were defined as days when men had five or more alcoholic drinks or women had four or more alcoholic drinks. Naltrexone’s theorized mechanism of action is that intoxicating substances like alcohol discharge endorphins, making an individual feel good. In people being treated for alcohol use disorders, Naltrexone (Vivitrol), an opioid receptor antagonist, prevents the endorphins from binding to their receptors, thereby ending the great feeling of being drunk.

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Are Campral and Naltrexone the Same Thing?

While both Naltrexone and Campral can be used to treat alcohol use disorder, they differ slightly in purpose: Naltrexone can be prescribed to people who are still drinking to reduce the frequency and duration of drinking. However, Campral is prescribed with the purpose of maintaining abstinence (no drinking at all).

Campral: Best Uses, and Side Effects

The usual dose of acamprosate is taken three times every day. However, a lower dose may be effective in some people. Follow the directions of your doctor in regards to the proper dose that you should take. If you miss a dose of this medication, don’t double the dose at the next scheduled time. There should be at least 2 hours between doses. If this is not possible, skip the dose and wait until your next scheduled dose.

Patients maintained on acamprosate have not developed a tolerance for or dependence on it, and it appears to have no potential for abuse. It carries practically no overdose risk; even at overdoses up to 56 grams (a normal daily dose is 2 grams), acamprosate was generally well tolerated by someone taking the drug.

Benefits of Taking Acamprosate

  • It protects the liver because it is absorbed through the digestive tract rather than the liver, reducing side effects and improving effectiveness for people with liver damage.
  • Generally less severe, fewer and less prevalent side effects than other prescription medications for alcoholism.
  • No known drug interactions with other medications or substances.
  • Actively reduces urge and cravings for and dependence on alcohol, by reacting with neurotransmitters in the brain, rather than reducing the pleasurable effects of alcohol or creating negative side effects from alcohol use.

Campral Side Effects 

Like most medications, acamprosate can cause side effects, but they are usually mild and subside the longer treatment continues. It is this comparative lack of side effects that makes the drug a more popular choice than alternatives. This is especially the case when it comes to liver-related side effects. The most common side-effects are gastrointestinal symptoms (such as mild diarrhea or loose bowel movements). You should tell your doctor if you encounter these or any other unexpected effects. If you have kidney problems you should discuss this with your doctor to see if this medication can be used. Sometimes a lower dose of acamprosate can be used.

However, there are a number of side effects, some of which are possibly very serious.

  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Vomiting
  • Hypersensitivity to the drug
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchiness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing changes
  • Reduced urination
  • Potential fetal risk
  • Anhedonia
  • Severe renal impairment
  • Extreme feelings of sadness/emptiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of strength

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Naltrexone Vivitrol Side Effects 

It is crucial for people in treatment for an addiction to opioids to first completely detox from these substances and then sustain abstinence for 7-10 days before starting Vivitrol; otherwise, this prescription medication can evoke withdrawal symptoms. Patients should speak to their medical practitioner before starting treatment with Naltrexone about the following situations:

  • Current liver problems, use of illegal drugs, have hemophilia or other bleeding problems, have kidney problems, or have any other medical conditions
  • You are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding
  • All medications, prescriptions and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplement
  • Practitioners need to know if clients are currently taking any opioid-containing medicines for pain, cough, colds, or diarrhea
  • Currently being treated for an OUD (opioid use disorder) or AUD (alcohol use disorder)
  • Are allergic to naltrexone or any of the ingredients or the liquid used to mix the extended-release Naltrexone

Common And Serious Side Effects Of Vivitrol

Typical Side Effects Of Naltrexone May Include:

  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Painful Joints
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Cold Symptoms
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Toothache
Campral Vs Naltrexone

Serious Side Effects Of Naltrexone

Risk of opioid overdose. Accidental overdose can happen in two ways.

  • Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids, such as heroin or opioid pain medications. Individuals who try to overcome this blocking effect by taking large amounts of opioids may undergo serious injury, coma, or death.
  • After taking a dose of naltrexone, the blocking effect slowly fades and completely goes away over time. Individuals receiving naltrexone for an OUD can become more sensitive to the effects of opioids at the dose used before or even lower amounts. Using opioids while on naltrexone can lead to overdose and death.

Individuals taking Vivitrol should tell family and the people they are closest to about the increased sensitivity to opioids and the risk of overdose.

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Campral vs Naltrexone: Pros and Cons 

Campral (Acamprosate)


  • Unlike other medicines used for alcohol use disorder, Campral (Acamprosate) doesn’t produce any unpleasant effects if you slip and have a drink. You can keep taking it if you break your sobriety, but talk to your doctor.
  • Campral (Acamprosate) reduces your cravings for alcohol and can help to maintain your sobriety.


  • Campral (Acamprosate) doesn’t treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
  • Campral (Acamprosate) can’t replace the support you get from group therapy or counseling for maintaining your sobriety.
  • Campral (Acamprosate) can be started only for those who have been able to stop drinking alcohol safely.
  • If you have severe kidney damage, you can’t take Campral (acamprosate).
  • It may be challenging to remember to take Campral (acamprosate) three times daily.

Vivitrol (Naltrexone)


  • Available in two different forms: a tablet can be taken every day, and a Vivitrol shot, which your doctor gives you once a month.
  • Good for people who have a mild opioid use disorder and who are highly motivated or who can be supervised as they take their medication.
  • It can be used with behavior modification therapy to treat opioid or alcohol use disorders.
  • Higher success rates are seen in people who use this under supervision.
  • The tablet is available as a generic.


  • Individuals who try to take opioids after taking Vivitrol (Naltrexone) are at risk for opioid overdose and death since it takes a large amount of opioids to overcome the effects of Vivitrol (Naltrexone).
  • You won’t be able to use any medications with opioids for pain relief since Vivitrol (Naltrexone) prevents them from working.
  • The shot is only available as brand name only (Vivitrol shots), so it can be expensive.
  • Not a good choice if you have depression, liver problems, or are breastfeeding or pregnant.
Campral Vs Naltrexone
Those who used Vivitrol adjacent to rehabilitation and continuing therapy were 17 times less prone to relapse than those who did not use Vivitrol.

Campral Uses 

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. This drug is recommended for use in combination with psychological and social treatments as part of a full alcoholism treatment plan. It is recommended for people who are motivated to reach alcohol abstinence rather than simply decrease drinking amounts.

Naltrexone Uses 

Vivitrol is a brand name of Naltrexone used to:

  • Treat alcohol dependence. For heavy drinkers and people struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD, Vivitrol shots may help to reduce drinking. 
  • Prevent opioid dependence after opioid detoxification. Opioids are well-known prescription drugs used to treat severe pain. Opioids are also highly addictive substances. Vivitrol is meant to help people avoid becoming dependent on opioids again after they’ve used them in the past. You must stop using opioids for at least 7 to 10 days before taking a Vivitrol shot.  

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Campral Vs Naltrexone
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[1] NIH –
[2] NIDA –
[3] [5] NCBI –
[4] FDA –
[5] Acamprosate Side Effects, Benefits, Safety, and Proper Use – We Level Up NJ

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