Alcohol misuse
RAG rating
Document type
Patient information
West Essex
Output type
Pharmacy / Prescribing


Information for Patients Prescribed Acamprosate in West Essex

What is acamprosate and how should it be taken?

Acamprosate (also called Campral®) is used to help treat alcohol dependence by reducing the risk of relapse, as it reduces cravings for alcohol. Acamprosate comes in 333mg tablets.

  • The usual dose of acamprosate is two tablets taken three times a day (e.g., at breakfast, in the afternoon [lunch or tea] and at night).
  • If you weigh less than 60kg the dose is smaller as four tablets taken each day (e.g., two at breakfast, one at lunchtime and one in the evening).

Acamprosate is usually best taken with a meal. You should swallow the tablets whole with at least half a glass of water whilst sitting or standing. This is to make sure that the tablets reach your stomach and do not stick in your throat. Do not chew or crush the tablets as they have a coating that stops them dissolving in stomach acid.

Acamprosate is not addictive, and if it stopped suddenly, there are no "withdrawal” symptoms, even after a year of taking it, but that means it will stop working. If you do start to drink alcohol again, keep taking the acamprosate but discuss this with your GP or alcohol misuse specialist as they will be able to advise you what to do next.

What monitoring will I need while taking acamprosate?

You may need to have blood tests done before you start taking acamprosate. There are no specific monitoring requirements or routine blood tests needed during your treatment.

How long will I need to take acamprosate for?

After 12 months your treatment will be reviewed and acamprosate will usually be stopped.

Who will prescribe my acamprosate?

Essex Structured Treatment and Recovery Service (STaRS) will begin prescribing acamprosate and give you a prescription for one month. If it is helping you, they will ask your GP practice to take over prescribing of acamprosate for you from month 2 to month 12.

Who will review my acamprosate treatment?

To ensure acamprosate is helping you, you will need to be reviewed by a health care professional throughout the course of treatment. The reviews will place at the following points:

By STaRS, after the first week of taking acamprosate

By your GP practice, every 2 to 3 months from month 2 to month 12

In your GP practice review, the health care professional will check whether you are meeting your Essex Alcohol Recovery Community (ARC) recovery worker. They will also ask if you have drunk any alcohol. They may ask you to answer some questions about your alcohol use (known as AUDIT C). This is to decide if you need extra support from Essex STaRS.

How do I order repeat acamprosate prescriptions from my GP?

You should request an acamprosate prescription at least a week before your current supply will finish. This gives your GP practice time to contact you to carry out a review and arrange a new prescription.

What additional support is available to you?

To ensure you get the most from your acamprosate treatment, Essex ARC or Open Road in Essex will provide you with monthly counselling or other support whilst taking this medication. You will be provided with advice on different subjects, these include:

  • identifying triggers
  • coping with cravings
  • rebuilding healthy ways of coping

Other useful information

Further information about acamprosate can be found in the manufacturer’s Patient Information Leaflet included in the medication package and covers topics on possible side effects and precautions. If you have any questions about your treatment or managing your alcohol use, speak to your alcohol misuse specialist, GP, local pharmacist, key worker, or other healthcare professional.

Further reading

This information has been adapted from the following sources:

Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust acamprosate patient information leaflet

Version number
Developed by
HWE ICB PMOT; John Crome, EPUT Independent Non-Medical Prescriber
Approved by
Date approved / updated
March 2023
Review date
This HWE APC document is based upon the information available at the time of publication. This document will be reviewed upon request in light of new information becoming available.
Superseded version