Acamprosate has been commercially available in the USA since 2004 to treat alcohol dependence. Its safety and efficacy have been demonstrated in a number of clinical trials worldwide, which overall have shown significant improvements in abstinence compared with placebo. As with all alcoholism pharmacotherapies, acamprosate is used in conjunction with psychosocial interventions. One frequently described mechanism stipulates that acamprosate supports abstinence by normalizing the often protracted dysregulation of NMDA-mediated glutamatergic neurotransmission that follows chronic heavy alcohol use and withdrawal. This article reviews the clinical safety and efficacy of acamprosate, as well as results from recent pharmacoeconomic and human laboratory studies. These data elucidate the economic benefits of acamprosate, as well as its effects on cognition and alcohol-related sleep disturbances.