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Antabuse is a prescription drug used to help individuals suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) to reduce cravings and stop drinking. It belongs to a class of drugs called Psychiatry Agents. Antabuse works by producing an unpleasant reaction when combined with alcohol, thereby discouraging people from drinking alcohol.
Antabuse, also known as Disulfiram, is a medicine used to treat alcohol addiction. When alcohol enters the body, it is broken down into acetaldehyde by alcohol dehydrogenase, and then into acetic acid by aldehyde dehydrogenase.
Disulfiram works by blocking the conversion of acetaldehyde to acetic acid, resulting in an upsurge of acetaldehyde. This upsurge is toxic and causes the individual to become ill, leading to strong feelings of aversion to alcohol.
Uses and Dosage
Antabuse (Disulfiram) comes in tablets to be taken orally once a day. It should be taken by mouth with or without food, usually once daily in the morning or as directed by your doctor. Follow the directions on the prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part that is not understood. Take the medication exactly as prescribed and do not take more or less of it than is prescribed by the doctor.
Disulfiram should be taken regularly to ensure the metabolic cycle continues, reducing the desire to drink alcohol. It is available in 250 mg or 500 mg tablets, with the maximum recommended daily dosage being 500 mg.
Common Side Effects of Disulfiram
- Impaired vision
- Mental confusion
- Problems breathing
Serious Side Effects of Disulfiram
- Excessive tiredness
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Yellowness of the skin or eyes
- Dark urine
Form and Strength
Antabuse and its generic alternative Disulfiram are available in the following forms and strengths:
- 500 mg
- 250 mg
- Do not take Disulfiram for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol. Let your doctor and pharmacist know all drugs you are taking as some may contain even minute traces of alcohol which can cause a reaction when taken with Disulfiram.
- When taking Antabuse (Disulfiram), it is important to tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes, thyroid disease, epilepsy, brain damage, or kidney or liver disease. Be aware because these conditions could interact with the medication and cause potentially harmful side effects.
- Be careful, some medications can cause drowsiness, and do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how the drug affects you. Read the labels on the medication and consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
- If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, you should notify your doctor immediately. If you become pregnant while taking disulfiram, you should call your doctor immediately as the medication can pose risks to a developing fetus. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially amitriptyline (Elavil), anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), isoniazid, metronidazole (Flagyl), phenytoin (Dilantin), any nonprescription drugs that might contain alcohol, and vitamins.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What foods to avoid Antabuse?
Be aware that certain food products, such as vinegars, kombucha, sauces, and some flavorings, may contain alcohol and should be avoided. Additionally, some muscle rubs, cough syrups, tonics, elixirs, and cold and flu products may also contain alcohol, and so caution should be taken when consuming these products.
How long can I take disulfiram?
The dose prescribed for disulfiram maintenance is 250mg once a day. Treatment with this medication can be continued for at least 6 months and up to a year, or in some cases even longer.
How long does 250 mg of disulfiram last?
It usually lasts for 30 to 60 minutes, but can last hours in severe cases. Don't give disulfiram to someone without them knowing, and never give it to someone who is drunk.
Is Antabuse a sedative?
Antabuse should be taken preferably on waking although in patients who experience a sedative effect, it may be taken on retiring. Alternatively, to minimise the sedative effect the initial dosage may be reduced.
It's important to purchase Antabuse from verified Canadian pharmacy.