What is the difference between Campral and Naltrexone?
Both Campral and Naltrexone
work in the brain, but their effects are different. Campral
helps to normalize the brain chemistry disrupted by heavy
drinking. Naltrexone reduces the euphoric effects of alcohol.
Campral makes the person think about alcohol less. It lessens
the feeling of uneasiness caused by ceasure of alcohol and helps
to avoid relapse after the withdrawal period. Naltrexone blocks
the "pleasure areas" in the brain, reducing the desire to
consume more alcohol.
Campral works by stabilizing the balance between the activity
of GABA and NMDA receptors in the brain. Alcohol increases
the actions of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on the GABA
receptors and decreases the actions of excitatory amino acids
such as glutamate on glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)
receptors. It results in a depressed activity in the brain
and the nerves. Long periods of consuming alcohol make the body
and the brain adapt to this situation by decreasing the activity
of GABA receptors and increasing the activity of NMDA receptors.
When aclohol intake is suddenly stopped, the depressant effects
disappear while the neurones remain hyperexcitable. Due to this,
the person experiences a range of symptoms associated with
alcohol withdrawal, such as poor sleep, anxiety and
irritability, dysphoria and feeling generally ill. It may
take a rather long time for the system to readapt and restore
the normal balance.
Campral is thought to work by activating GABA receptors and
blocking the activity of NMDA receptors. This way it helps
the person manage uneasiness in the initial period of alcohol
abstinence and live through the readaptation period.
Naltrexone blocks a different type of receptors in the
brain, the so called opiate receptors. As a result, when
alcohol is combined with Naltrexone, its euphoric effects
are noticeably decreased, and the urge for drinking lessens.
Less amounts of consumed alcohol mean less intoxication and
Naltrexone is available in pills (e.g., under the brand
name ReVia) and as an injectable solution (Vivitrol).
Campral is only distributed as 333 mg pills.
Campral has to be taken regularly in doses of up to 666 mg
up to three times a day. If taken by mouth (in pills), the
usual recommended dose of Naltrexone (ReVia) does not exceed 50 mg
taken once daily. If injected, Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is only used
once a month, 380 mg intramuscularly.
Campral and Naltrexone do not dangerously interact with each
other. Moreover, their beneficial effects can be doubled if the
medications are used together.
However, neither Campral nor Naltrexone have been reported to be
absolutely effective in ALL the patients. Some individuals respond
to the treatment better, while the others may experince very little
improvements. Also, both medications are mostly effective when
used as part of general behavioral therapy.
We take great
interest in collecting any information concerning treatment of
alcoholism with Campral and Naltrexone.