In the last couple of decades anti-craving drugs have been developed. Acamprosate was described as an effective treatment option to support alcohol abstinence with a low side effect profile. Moreover its molecular mode of action is highly controversial. Recently, calcium salt was described to be the active part of Acamprosate.
Using a clinical sample of placebo (n = 10) vs. Acamprosate-treated (n = 19) abstinent alcohol-dependent patients, we measured calcium plasma concentrations after the 1st, 2nd and 3rd month after the treatment commenced. Before treatment, the same physiological calcium concentration of about 2.4 mmol/l was found in both groups respectively. We found significant correlations in the Acamprosate group while no correlations in the placebo group were observed.
The very well regulated extracellular calcium serum concentration seems to get out of balance in association with the severity of alcohol dependence in inpatients during withdrawal.
Accordingly, in another clinical sample (n = 57) we found a negative correlation between calcium serum concentration and craving (r2= 0.125; P = 0.011) on day 1 of detoxification. The measurement of craving was carried out by a self-rating scale, the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS). Furthermore a low calcium level correlated with high breathalyser readings and the number of alcohol inpatient detoxification's.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.