Vivitrol vs Campral

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Introduction

For patients struggling with alcohol or opioid dependence, certain drugs that interact with specific receptors in the brain can assist in managing cravings and preventing relapse. Vivitrol and Campral are two such medications used to support individuals in recovery from addiction. Both have a role in modulating neural pathways involved in addiction but act on different neurotransmitter systems within the brain.

Vivitrol is an extended-release formulation of naltrexone, an opioid antagonist blocking the effects of opioids by binding to their receptor sites. This action helps manage cravings and prevents feelings of euphoria if a patient were to relapse into drug use.

On the other hand, Campral (acamprosate) has been suggested to work by restoring balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission altered by long-term alcohol abuse. While its exact mechanism isn't entirely known, it's thought to reduce withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, which could lead back into drinking.

What is Vivitrol?

Naltrexone (the generic name for Vivitrol) is a drug that plays a crucial role in the management of opioid and alcohol dependence. It represents an important advancement compared to the older class of drugs used to treat addiction, such as disulfiram. Naltrexone was first approved by the FDA in 1984 and works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, effectively reducing cravings without leading to physical dependency or withdrawal symptoms when stopped. It's prescribed as part of comprehensive treatment programs for substance abuse disorders.

Vivitrol has a selective influence on opiate receptors with only minor influence on other neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which results in it having fewer side effects than other addiction treatments that have broader effects across various neurotransmitter systems.

On the other hand, Acamprosate (Campral) helps restore chemical balance in the brain disrupted by chronic alcohol use; however, its exact mechanism remains unclear. Unlike naltrexine, acamprosate doesn't interfere directly with pleasure pathways associated with substance use but instead aims at easing post-withdrawal symptoms including dysphoria and anxiety.

What conditions is Vivitrol approved to treat?

Vivitrol is approved for the treatment of different types of addiction:

  • Alcohol dependence, after the patient has detoxed and in combination with social support
  • Opioid dependence, after the patient has completed detoxification and as part of a comprehensive management program that includes psychological support

How does Vivitrol help with these illnesses?

Vivitrol aids in managing substance addiction, particularly alcohol and opioids, by acting on the brain's opioid receptors. It is an extended-release formulation of naltrexone that works by blocking these receptors, thereby reducing cravings for the substance and mitigating withdrawal symptoms. Opioid receptors are proteins found in the brain that respond to endorphins--the body’s natural painkillers--and play a crucial role in reward pathways as well as pain regulation. In individuals with substance dependence, these receptors can be activated by drugs or alcohol instead of endorphins. By blocking this activation using Vivitrol, it helps curb cravings and thus aids significantly in recovery from addiction.

What is Campral?

Campral, known generically as acamprosate, is used to help maintain abstinence in people who have successfully overcome drinking problems. It operates by restoring the balance of certain chemicals in the brain that become disrupted by long-term alcohol use. Acamprosate was first approved by the FDA in 2004.

Unlike Vivitrol, Campral does not block the pleasurable effects of alcohol or curb cravings; rather it works on reducing withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia which can lead to relapse. Its side effect profile is different from medications like Vivitrol - common side effects include diarrhea and abdominal pain but it does not cause fatigue or a reduction in libido (common sides effects with drugs like Vivitrol). The way Campral works can be particularly beneficial for individuals transitioning out of an alcohol detox program and into ongoing recovery management.

What conditions is Campral approved to treat?

Campral, also known as acamprosate calcium, is a medication that has received FDA approval for specific uses in the United States including:

  • Maintenance of alcohol abstinence: Campral is used together with supportive care and counseling to help people who have stopped drinking large amounts of alcohol to avoid drinking again.

Remember, it's always crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before starting or changing any medication regime.

How does Campral help with these illnesses?

Campral, also known as Acamprosate, plays a significant role in the restoration and maintenance of balance in the central nervous system. It does this by modulating and normalizing neuronal activity that can be disrupted by alcohol withdrawal. Similar to how norepinephrine affects various bodily processes such as wakefulness, memory recall and attention focus, Campral impacts several neurotransmitter systems within the brain including GABAergic and glutamatergic pathways. This results in decreased cravings for alcohol thereby aiding recovery from alcoholism. Vivitrol on the other hand works differently - it blocks opioid receptors thus curbing any pleasure derived from drinking; but doesn't directly address neurochemical imbalances caused by long-term alcohol abuse like Campral does. Therefore, if a patient is struggling with persistent post-acute withdrawal symptoms after quitting alcohol or has not responded well to medications like Vivitrol, then they may find better relief with Campral.

How effective are both Vivitrol and Campral?

Both naltrexone (Vivitrol) and acamprosate (Campral) are FDA-approved medications used in the management of alcohol dependence. They were approved by the FDA only a few years apart, with Campral gaining approval in 2004 and Vivitrol in 2006. As they work on different pathways implicated in alcohol dependence, they may be prescribed under varying circumstances.

The effectiveness of both drugs was compared directly in a large clinical trial conducted from 2001 to 2004, known as COMBINE.[1] In this study, individuals receiving either medication had significantly fewer drinking days and more abstinent days than those receiving placebo; however there were no significant differences between the two active treatment groups. Nonetheless, it should be noted that patients receiving Vivitrol required adherence to an intramuscular injection once per month while those on Campral took oral tablets thrice daily.

A review published in 2018 showed that acamprosate can increase the number of people who remain abstinent for several months when used as part of a comprehensive treatment program.[2] The same review found less evidence supporting naltrexone's efficacy at maintaining abstinence long-term but did note its ability to reduce heavy drinking days and craving.

While both treatments have similar safety profiles overall – nausea being one common side effect - there are some key differences: Vivitrol is contraindicated for anyone with current or recent opioid use due to risk of precipitated withdrawal whereas Campral has shown beneficial effects even among individuals concurrently dependent on opioids.[3]

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15867102/ [2] https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004332.pub5/full [3] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/188617

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Vivitrol typically prescribed?

Dosages of Vivitrol are typically 380 mg via intramuscular injection once a month. This medication is generally used in adults and it's not commonly recommended for people under the age of 18. On the other hand, Campral is usually taken orally with doses ranging from 666-1998 mg/day divided into three doses, depending on body weight and doctor’s prescription. Both medications should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes counseling and social support. It's important to note that dosages may need adjustment based on individual patient response after several weeks of treatment.

At what dose is Campral typically prescribed?

Campral treatment is initially started at a dosage of 666 mg, taken three times a day. This amounts to approximately 1998 mg/day, divided into three doses that are evenly spaced throughout the day. If after monitoring there's no significant response or improvement in controlling alcohol cravings and maintaining abstinence after several weeks, your doctor may consider adjusting the dose accordingly. However, it should be noted that the maximum recommended daily dose for Campral does not exceed 3332 mg (or five tablets) per day split into three doses.

What are the most common side effects for Vivitrol?

Some of the most common side effects associated with Vivitrol include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, tiredness or weakness (asthenia)
  • Decreased appetite (anorexia)
  • Insomnia or other sleep disorders
  • Anxiety, nervousness
  • Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sinusitis, sore throat (pharyngitis)
  • Muscle cramps/pain

On the other hand, Campral may cause:

-Diarrhea -Increased sweating -A feeling of general discomfort or illness -Nervousness, -Anxiety, -Sleep disturbances including insomnia and abnormal dreams.

Remember that every individual may react differently to each medication. It is crucial to discuss these potential side effects with your healthcare provider before starting any new medication regimen.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Vivitrol?

While both Vivitrol and Campral are used in the treatment of alcohol dependence, they can have different side effects. For Vivitrol, potential serious adverse reactions include:

  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Severe allergic reactions: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Eye problems such as blurred vision or tunnel vision.
  • Unexpected opioid withdrawal symptoms: nausea, diarrhea, muscle aches/cramps, watery eyes/nose, yawning etc. -Pneumonia due to allergic reaction (eosinophilic pneumonia) - fever with chills and cough that doesn't go away.

On the other hand Campral might cause:

-Seizures -Kidney problems - little or no urinating; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles -Anxiety/panic attacks -Trouble sleeping -Difficulty concentrating

Always inform your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual symptoms while on these medications.

What are the most common side effects for Campral?

When compared to Vivitrol, Campral (also known as Acamprosate) presents its own set of potential side effects. These may include:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach pain and loss of appetite
  • Nausea and occasional vomiting
  • Mild rash or itching
  • Dizziness, feeling weak or anxious
  • Insomnia or other sleep-related issues
  • Dry mouth and increased thirst.

It's important to note that these are just possibilities; not everyone who takes Campral will experience all of these symptoms, if any at all. However, if you do notice any significant changes in your health after starting the medication, it's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider immediately.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Campral?

Campral, like any medication, carries the risk of side effects. Although generally well-tolerated, it's important to be aware of potential risks. Some signs that you should seek immediate medical attention while taking Campral include:

  • Allergic reactions: rash or hives; itching; swelling in your face or throat; difficulty breathing
  • Suicidal thoughts or changes in mental health: increased depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior
  • Physical symptoms: heart palpitations or chest pain; seizures; unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Vision problems: blurred vision, eye reddening and discomfort
  • Behavioral changes: confusion, mood swings

If you experience any of these symptoms after starting Campral treatment for alcohol dependence management, stop taking the medication and consult with your healthcare provider immediately.

Contraindications for Vivitrol and Campral?

Both Vivitrol and Campral, along with most other medications used to manage alcohol dependence, can potentially worsen symptoms of depression in some individuals. If you notice your depression worsening, or an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior while taking these drugs, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Vivitrol nor Campral should be taken if you are using opioids or have a physical dependence on opioid-containing medicines. This is because sudden opioid withdrawal could occur. Always inform your physician about any medications you are currently taking; opioids will need to be discontinued at least 7-10 days prior to starting treatment with Vivitrol to avoid precipitating withdrawal.

Furthermore, both drugs require comprehensive addiction management programs that involve counselling and psychological support for the best outcomes. It's not recommended for those who are allergic to naltrexone (for Vivitrol) or acamprosate (for Campral). In addition, people with severe kidney problems should not take Campral.

How much do Vivitrol and Campral cost?

For brand-name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for a single dose of Vivitrol (380 mg) is around $1,300. As this medication is typically administered once a month, the daily cost works out to about $43/day.
  • The average cost for 180 tablets of Campral (333 mg), which equates to one month's supply, averages around $340–$400. This works out to approximately $11-$13 per day.

Therefore, if you're using as directed by your healthcare provider (i.e., monthly injections for Vivitrol and two tablets three times daily for Campral), then brand-name Campral is less expensive on a per-day basis. However, it's crucial to understand that cost should not be the primary factor in determining which medication will best suit your needs.

For generic versions of naltrexone (active ingredient in Vivitrol) and acamprosate calcium (Campral):

  • Naltrexone oral tablet form does exist at significantly lower costs than its injectable counterpart but doesn't offer the same sustained release benefit. It comes with approximate costs ranging from $0.50 - $2 per day based on dosages between 50 and 150 mg/day.
  • Acamprosate Calcium can also come at significantly lower prices when opting for generic brands costing roughly $.75 - $1 per day depending on quantity purchased upfront.

Remember: pricing may vary based on location or pharmacy used; always consult with healthcare professionals before making treatment decisions.

Popularity of Vivitrol and Campral

Naltrexone, in forms such as Vivitrol, is an opioid antagonist used to manage alcohol and opioid dependence. In 2020, it was estimated that about 1.6 million people in the US were prescribed naltrexone. This accounts for roughly 13% of all prescriptions for medications indicated for substance use disorders. It's noteworthy that Vivitrol has been steadily increasing in prevalence since its approval by the FDA in 2006.

Acamprosate calcium, commercially known as Campral, is indicated specifically for maintaining alcohol abstinence in patients who are already abstinent at treatment initiation. Approximately 570 thousand prescriptions of acamprosate were filled out across the USA during the year of 2020. Despite accounting only for around 4-5% of total prescriptions related to substance use disorder treatments throughout last year, Campral usage has also seen a consistent increase over the past decade.

Conclusion

Both Vivitrol (naltrexone) and Campral (acamprosate) are widely prescribed medications used in the treatment of alcohol dependence. Numerous clinical studies and meta-analyses have shown them to be more effective than placebo treatments, aiding significantly in maintaining abstinence from alcohol use. Their mechanisms of action differ; Vivitrol is an opioid antagonist that works primarily by blocking the euphoria associated with alcohol consumption, while Campral acts mainly on glutamate neurotransmission to restore balance within the central nervous system post-alcohol withdrawal.

In some cases, these drugs may be combined under careful medical supervision; however, this should only be done if absolutely necessary due to potential drug interactions. Both medications are available as generic drugs providing significant cost savings for patients who must pay out-of-pocket.

Vivitrol requires monthly injections which can lead to a delay in experiencing its full effects but ensures compliance with treatment. In contrast, Campral is taken orally three times a day and its effects can often be felt sooner.

Side effect profiles between the two medicines vary slightly: both are generally well-tolerated although Vivitrol may cause nausea or headaches while Campral could potentially lead to diarrhea at first. It’s crucial for patients starting either medication regimen to closely monitor any adverse reactions or worsening cravings for alcohol and seek immediate medical help if they note such changes.