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What are side effects of medications that treat alcohol abuse?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
The following are common side effects of medications used for treating alcohol abuse:
  • Acamprosate (Campral): Diarrhea, headache; patient must have normal kidney function tests before using.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse): Adverse reaction when taken with alcohol; metallic aftertaste; red, itchy skin. More serious side effects can include disulfiram-induced hepatitis, which in rare cases can be fatal.
  • Naltrexone (Depade, ReVia, Vivitrol): Nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, dizziness, headache, anxiety, fatigue; increase in liver enzymes, which return to normal when medication is discontinued; blocks effect of narcotic pain relievers.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.