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Acamprosate: a new tool in the battle against alcohol dependence

Authors Tara M Wright, Hugh Myrick

Published 15 December 2006 Volume 2006:2(4) Pages 445—453

Tara M Wright1, Hugh Myrick1,2

1Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs, Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Charleston, SC, USA; 2Ralph H. Johnson Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Research and Development Services, Charleston, SC, USA

Abstract: Acamprosate, a medication that has been used in Europe for years, is the newest drug to be approved by the US Federal Drug Administration for the treatment of alcohol dependence. It has been shown to assist in the maintenance of abstinence in recently detoxified alcohol-dependent individuals. The following review delineates the proposed mechanism of action and pharmacokinetics of the drug. Findings of clinical trials are outlined and topics such as cost effectiveness, comparison with other medications used for the treatment of alcohol dependences as well as combination pharmacotherapy are discussed. In combination with psychosocial treatment, acamprosate is a promising tool for the maintenance of abstinence in alcohol-dependent patients after alcohol withdrawal. This review also illustrates the continued need to search for more effective treatments, as the overall effectiveness of our currently available pharmacotherapies remains limited in the long-term maintenance of recovery from alcohol dependence.

Keywords: acamprosate, alcohol, alcohol dependence, abstinence

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