Campral vs Naltrexone

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    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 fewer cravings.

    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.

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