Acamprosate helps maintain abstinence from alcohol after detoxification

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IN BRIEFAlthough a range of management strategies for alcohol-dependent patients who have undergone detoxification are available, an integrated programme of psychosocial/behavioural therapy and pharmacological treatment is advised. Acamprosate has been shown to prevent relapse in patients with alcohol dependence receiving cognitive/behavioural counselling after detoxification. Up to 43% of patients remained totally abstinent during a year of treatment, and rates remained high in a further year of follow-up. 21% or fewer of those receiving placebo remained abstinent in the year after detoxification. The addition of disulfiram to the treatment regimen may increase the efficacy of acamprosate. Adverse events associated with acamprosate are mild and transient.However, until comparative clinical trials have been undertaken, the final role of drugs such as acamprosate remains unresolved.

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