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Campral Vs. Naltrexone

If you have been suffering from alcohol addiction, Campral and naltrexone are two medications that may be suitable treatment options.

Both of these medications can help you to overcome alcohol addiction by decreasing the pleasure derived from drinking, and by reducing the withdrawal symptoms that surface when you stop the cycle of abuse.

The ideal outcome of treating alcoholism with either medication is the same – you stop drinking. However, each of these medications does work in a very different way.

How Each Alcohol Treatment Medication Works

  • Campral: This medication combats the effects of alcohol on brain chemistry; these alcohol’s effects result in symptoms like insomnia and irritability when alcohol use is discontinued. Specifically, Campral stimulates the GABA receptors in the brain, and subdues the NMDA receptors, therefore reducing some limited effects of alcohol withdrawal since the brain is more quickly restored to a stable state. Campral does not address typical withdrawal symptoms or those involved in early detox.
  • Naltrexone: This medication helps prevent feelings of intoxication. As the pleasure in drinking is reduced through its use, the cycle of alcoholism begins to decrease in its intensity. When there is no longer a feeling of euphoria that comes from drinking, most people will feel less inclined to continue drinking. Naltrexone accomplishes this by blocking the opiate receptors in the brain, which are responsible for pleasurable feelings.

Benefits of Campral

Campral has been on the market since the FDA approved it in 2004. Prior to approval, there were three double-blind clinical trials conducted to determine the benefits of Campral in individuals who had been suffering from long-term alcohol abuse. The individuals treated with Campral had already undergone a detox program.

The studies proved that individuals taking Campral had a much better chance at long-term recovery than the individuals who were given the placebo. However, it is best suited to treat alcoholism alone, as further studies have proven that Campral is not as effective in treating individuals with histories of abusing multiple substances consecutively.

Campral Side Effects

As with any medication, some patients can experience side effects when taking Campral. These are fairly minimal and include:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Digestive issues
  • Pruritus
  • Gas
  • Cotton mouth
  • Body aches

A smaller number of patients (about 1 to 8 percent) who are medicated with Campral experience more serious side effects. These may include:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Tingling or burning sensations in the extremities (hands and feet)
  • Unusually or dangerously low blood pressure
  • Depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts
  • Cognitive impairment (difficulty thinking)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Reduced or impaired kidney function
  • Sexual dysfunction in males (impotence and/or loss of libido)

Benefits of Naltrexone

Naltrexone has proven highly effective when used to treat individuals with multiple addictions. It is chiefly used to treat addictions to opioid drugs and alcohol.

FDA clinical trials determined that using naltrexone means patients have fewer cravings, fewer drinking days, and relapse rates that are 50 percent lower than those who were treated with the placebo.

Naltrexone Side Effects

The side effects of Naltrexone can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Angst
  • Headache
  • Exhaustion

Choosing Campral or Naltrexone

Both Campral and naltrexone are suitable options if alcohol is your substance of choice. If you have been using opioid drugs, you may have more success with naltrexone. However, people with specific medical histories may not be eligible to use either medication. When you enter rehab, your addiction history will be taken into consideration so your most effective course of treatment can be determined.

Medication alone will usually not lead to the best long-term recovery result, as the root causes behind the addictive behavior must be addressed for effective recovery.

Behavioral and alternative treatments are often needed to effectively treat alcoholism or drug addiction. If you’d like assistance finding a program that can help – one that incorporates the use of Campral, naltrexone or other medications into their treatment process – contact us today.

Where Is Campral or Naltrexone Available?

  • Via a doctor’s prescription
  • In outpatient treatment through a pharmacy
  • At inpatient or outpatient rehabs

Getting Campral or Naltrexone From a Doctor

Your doctor will typically only prescribe these medications after you have undergone a clinical detox program where your health is actively monitored during alcohol withdrawal.

Ensuring that you remain medically stable during additional treatment is a primary concern, especially when you will be responsible for the safe and consistent administration of your medication once you’ve obtained a Naltrexone or Campral prescription. The protocol for prescribing before or after detox is strictly dependent upon your addiction, and your overall health, so there are exceptions to this rule.

Campral is usually prescribed in 333-mg tablets that are time-release, and the average dosage is taken three times per day. You can make an appointment to speak with your primary doctor about your options, and your interest in treating alcoholism with this medication. However, you should avoid this medication if you are suffering from any of the following:

  • Depression and/or thoughts of suicide
  • Kidney dysfunction or disease
  • Allergies to sulfites, dyes or preservatives
  • Food allergies

In addition, women who are planning a pregnancy or are currently pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Campral.

Getting Campral or Naltrexone From a Pharmacy on an Outpatient Basis

Though Naltrexone and Campral are considered non-addictive, these medications can be distributed via outpatient pharmacies. A program like this requires a patient to visit a pre-determined location in order to receive their daily dose of medication.

The method of dispensing Campral is only used in extreme circumstances. For example, this may be an option if you have been court-ordered to receive treatment for your alcoholism, and it is unlikely that you’ll be able to take your medication responsibly on your own.

Getting Campral or Naltrexone at an Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab Facility

The best option for you, if you are interested in receiving treatment for your alcoholism with Campral or Naltrexone, is to enroll in an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility. In either setting, you receive support from a combination of professionals, as well as other addicts who will keep you motivated. Plus, there are programs there to help you deal with the psychological aspects of recovery so that your rehabilitation is balanced.

You can determine (with the help of intake professionals, should you desire) whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is better suited to your history of abuse and your lifestyle. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of individuals who are addicted to a substance – including alcohol – end up relapsing.

When comprehensive treatment is received at a facility that specializes in helping people just like you overcome their challenges, the chances of recovery without relapse become even higher.

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