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Campral vs. Naltrexone

Old 06-09-2017, 12:59 PM
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Campral vs. Naltrexone

Hi, I know people on this forum aren't qualified to give medical advice but I was wondering about the experiences of people who have tried both of these meds. I feel naltrexone may be losing some of its efficacy and also causing me to feel depressed. Has Campral been effective for anyone?
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:32 PM
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I've seen lots of those types of questions here on SR. I take it people use them for craving suppression ? I also recently noticed a similar sounding chemical/medication being advertised for cravings related to food.

Many adopt the idea that abstinence in the presence of cravings is not only possible but really the endgame.

It is my experience that cravings diminish and become less frequent the more times they are 'rided out'. It seems just as habitual as it is to satisfy an urge or craving, when that urge becomes habitually ignored it loses it 'potency'.

It makes me wonder how helpful that can be, if medication suppresses the urge and one is not then able to practice the habit of having the experience of riding them out. Or are these types of medications only prescribed on a short term basis ?
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:55 PM
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Well I am not an advocate for drugs. But I can share my experience with antabuse... I definitely needed something more. Antabuse is a great short term solution. But it cannot help in the long term! I tried it and please believe, it is not long-term. I apologize if this is crossing the SR boundaries. It's just my experience.
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Old 06-09-2017, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by dwtbd View Post
It makes me wonder how helpful that can be, if medication suppresses the urge and one is not then able to practice the habit of having the experience of riding them out. Or are these types of medications only prescribed on a short term basis ?
According to my DR. they are used in the short term for around 6 months to a year. You would meanwhile be working on a strong recovery program so you could discontinue the medication. They are supposed to lessen the physical cravings but of course do not address the underlying reasons why people drink.
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Old 06-09-2017, 02:16 PM
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If the medications suppresses the physical cravings making it 'easier'(?) to abstain, yet still experience the underlying reasons why they drink, when they are not drinking, how is it the underlying reasons are the cause of the drinking ?
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Old 06-09-2017, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by dwtbd View Post
If the medications suppresses the physical cravings making it 'easier'(?) to abstain, yet still experience the underlying reasons why they drink, when they are not drinking, how is it the underlying reasons are the cause of the drinking ?
I'm not sure I understand the question exactly but I think it has to do with the reasons that people drink to excess which are #1 a physical addiction to alcohol and #2 emotional reasons, like they are trying to escape difficult feelings, loneliness, depression, stress, anxiety and the like.

Medication can address #1 making it easier to deal with cravings and stop, but in order to stay stopped you also have to find other ways of coping with life's problems than alcohol.
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Old 06-09-2017, 07:37 PM
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I used Campral the first five months of my sobriety, and it was a great tool in my tool kit in addition to my recovery program.
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Old 06-10-2017, 01:29 AM
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I use Campral and think it is a great tool. One of my personal rules for posting online is to try not to be negative but I'm going to break that rule here: I HATE the idea that medications are in some way cheating, somehow lessen one's own fight at sobriety and somehow make those using them less truly sober. Modern medicine has evolved for our benefit and why shouldn't we take advantage of that? You wouldn't tell someone with a broken leg to "practise" walking without a crutch when newly injured and in dire need of some help, no?
No, craving reduction medications and antabuse are not permanent fixes and do not address the underlying issues, but they sure as hell do help those of us who need an extra push or support.
Campral and antabuse have bought me sober time. Campral specifically has lessened the intensity and frequency of cravings allowing me to stay sober long enough to clear out my body and mind of residual alcohol and get to work on the underlying issues. If I was never able to get sober in the first place I couldn't do this serious work. "This serious work" includes meetings with a psychologist, working the steps of AA with an online sponsor I met here on SR, using SR as a tool and working on my "better me" project/plan which includes exercise, karate, language lessons, reading and getting my house and garden in tiptop shape.
In the beginning I was taking the maximum dose of campral, which is based on weight, and was two 333mg pills, three times a day. In collaboration with my doctor that has been reduced to two pills in the morning and one at night, so half the original dosage. I don't know now if it is the light dose of medication that is keeping cravings at bay or if it is the other work I have been doing, but even at this lower dose I do not have frequent or strong cravings. I am sticking with Campral for the time being as I feel safe and protected by taking it and I also like the other benefit (which i am not sure naltrexone addresses, but that is a question for a doctor) that it repairs injured pathways in the brain that resulted from excessive alcohol use.
I am also still on antabuse. I went back on it after my last relapse in March. It was a one day drinking episode but upset me and scared me enough that I wanted to attack it with any means possible so I asked to go back on antabuse and have been taking it ever since. Again, I feel safe taking it, knowing that it will back me up (to an extent, I could drink on it, to disastrous consequences) when I feel shaky.
Hats off to those that have gotten and remained sober without the use of medication. But hats off too to those who have been brave enough to approach their doctor about medical option available to them and have used medications in conjunction with a solid recovery plan addressing this beast 360 degrees.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:15 AM
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I take campral every other day now, seems to work, not had a drink in quite a while. I have naltrexone but it has too many side effects so I just have it in the drawer for back up.
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Old 06-10-2017, 12:35 PM
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My thoughts and experience, for whatever they are worth:

I am a firm believer that meds are there for us when/if we need them; under a good dr's care taking a med (or meds) is absolutely acceptable and even desirable if it enhances the quality of our life from an unnaturally low point (eg, alleviating depression). In no way is this kind of drug-taking "Cheating at sobriety."

I am 474 days sober.
I took Antabuse for the first 90 days. I was completely DONE drinking so this was basically a way to give a short-term physical reinforcement (Which, truthfully, was unnecessary based on how desperately ill I was when I quit). I signed a paper every day and had it witnessed and dated, and showed it to my pysch each time I saw her (3-4 wks apart back then). IME and as I understand it,. antabuse can be hard on the liver and shouldn't be taken on a permanent basis. The one time she asked me if I thought I needed it again was when I went back to work at a restaurant at 5 mo sober; I didn't and all was good, but it would have been ok with me if she'd wanted me to take it.

I have taken Campral (one 333mg pill, 3x a day) since I quit. I will be on it indefinitely as far as I know. I have had ZERO cravings. If that' why or even part of why, it is A-OK with me to take it forever. I took Naltrexone for two months several years back - it didn't seem to help any cravings - but then I was planning to drink anyway so it's not a great example for you.

I also take ativan/lorazepam as needed for anxiety (1-3 pills a day), lamictal for what are now extremely mild BPD symptoms, a low dose (20 mg, daily) of paxil for mild depression (this has been part of my regimen since last Dec) and seroquel (quetapine) for sleep nightly (it also has an anti-anxiety component).

Maybe this sounds like a lot to some but it works for me, and it is an ongoing part of my total recovery package. None of this would keep me sober- it helps me live my best life and be as healthy as I can in all ways. My AA program and faith are the critical pieces; everything else from medicine to diet to exercise to a reallllly important one for me, rest, follow.

IMO, if you have a good dr and it is suggested something would be good for you, try it; take it exactly as prescribed, don't drink on it and be honest with this dr about how it is working for you or not.
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Old 06-11-2017, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by August252015 View Post


I also take ativan/lorazepam as needed for anxiety (1-3 pills a day), lamictal for what are now extremely mild BPD symptoms, a low dose (20 mg, daily) of paxil for mild depression (this has been part of my regimen since last Dec) and seroquel (quetapine) for sleep nightly (it also has an anti-anxiety component).
Hi August, thanks I also am on Zoloft and Gabapentin. I did read some things about Campral that it could cause suicidal thoughts in some people and that made me a little leery of it but I'm going to ask my Dr. next time I go in if I can make the switch.
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Old 06-11-2017, 11:27 PM
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For what it's worth ZenButterfly, and again, everyone is different, but I am someone who is extremely sensitive to medication side effects. I am on antabuse now and suffering through it (the tiredness/drowsiness). That said, I have had absolutely no side effects from Campral. I am also on 10mg of lexapro and 500mg of Depakote. It seems to be a good mix *for me* But I had to work with a psychiatrist a long time to find the right dosage and right combination due to the side effect issues and to find something that covered my needs. Don't give up, this is why doctors are here for. And don't be afraid to try something and then call your doctor often/as needed with any concerns or questions.
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:38 AM
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Hi everyone,
Thanks for the feedback. I just wanted to mention that I started in on Campral a couple of days ago. So far I am not experiencing a lot of side effects and I feel less depressed than I was on Naltrexone.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:38 PM
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Thanks for the update ZB- best wishes

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Old 06-17-2017, 12:14 AM
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Great news!
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Old 06-17-2017, 07:11 AM
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Sounds positive ZenButterfly!!
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