Acamprosate and primitive reflexes

Patrycya Guzik, Lindey Bankes, Thomas M. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: TO describe 3 cases of patients with alcohol dependence whose primitive reflexes resolved upon initiation of acamprosate 666 mg 3 times daily. CASE SUMMARIES: A 57-year-old man had a long-standing history of alcohol dependence and a prominent snout reflex. The snout reflex resolved within 24 hours of starting treatment with acamprosate. A 45-year-old man with a long history of alcohol dependence had both a snout and a grasp reflex. These reflexes were present throughout 3 admissions for alcohol detoxification and continued until the end of his third admission, when he elected to begin treatment with acamprosate. Within 24 hours of starting treatment, the snout and grasp reflexes were absent. A 55-year-old man who drank heavily for 35 years presented with both a snout and a grasp reflex on admission. These persisted throughout his detoxification until the day after he had begun treatment with acamprosate. His primitive reflexes remained resolved through the next 4 days until discharge. All 3 of these patients remained on acamprosate at discharge. DISCUSSION: Alcohol dependence is a common, debilitating disorder. One of the difficulties in treating alcohol dependence is its adverse effect on the brain, as higher aspects of cortical function necessary to maintain abstinence are eroded by alcohol. Acamprosate is a drug intended to help prevent relapse among patients with alcohol dependence. Unexpectedly, acamprosate may resolve primitive reflexes - a neurologic finding that suggests cognitive impairment - among patients with alcohol dependence. CONCLUSIONS: Acamprosate may relieve snout and grasp reflexes among patients with alcohol dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-718
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Acamprosate
  • Primitive reflexes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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