Antabuse is a trade name for a drug commonly known as Disulfiram. It is prescribed for recovering alcoholics to prevent further consumption of alcohol.
How it works
This medication works by hindering the metabolization of alcohol in your body. Acetaldehyde is the composite formed when alcohol is broken down in your body. Aldehyde dehydrogenase; a liver enzyme that helps to break down Acetaldehyde becomes dysfunctional when Antabuse is taken. Subsequently, your body is unable to process the alcohol which in turn results in an accumulation of acetaldehyde in the blood stream. This affects the heart and causes blood pressure to drop.
The active ingredient Disulfiram causes unpleasant effects such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath, headaches and nausea when it reacts with alcohol. Therefore, the intake of Antabuse is known to avert the temptation for alcohol.
When Antabuse is prescribed, it has to be taken 12 hours after alcohol is consumed.
The daily dose should not exceed 500mg. usually for daily use, doctors prescribe an amount of 250 mg. It can be taken in a single dose and be continued for about 2 weeks. The regular administration of the drug should be continued until the patient fully recovers and has self-control to withdraw from the temptation to consume alcohol.
Antabuse is usually taken in the morning, but since its intake can cause a tranquilizing effect in certain persons, it may be taken close to the time of sleep.
Seen below are some possible side effects associated with this medication.
Nausea and vomiting
Numbness in the body
Decreased sexual drive in males
It is important to follow the directions given by your doctor if Antabuse is prescribed.
You should not consume alcohol before or after taking Antabuse. The drug will react with alcohol and cause hazardous reactions in your body. It is also crucial that you do not consume alcohol for about 2 weeks after terminating the use of the drug.
Keep away from things such as perfumes, tonics, mouth wash, aerosol sprays, and sanitizers when taking Antabuse. They contain alcohol and it can react with the medication. Replace them with ‘alcohol free’ products.
Antabuse should not be taken if you
are allergic to Disulfiram
have consumed any food or medicines that contain alcohol
used any skin care products that contain alcohol
have taken metronidazole or paraldehyde in recent times
The doctor should also be aware if you have the following conditions:
Thyroid related complications
History of any mental illness
High Blood Pressure
This medication should not be taken by mothers who breastfeed. It should also be kept away from the reach of children.
While being treated for alcoholism with Antabuse, avoid coming into contact with gases, chemicals, paints and polishes. Chances of a drug reaction is high if your body interacts with such products.
Seek further medical advice from your doctor and join an alcohol counselling program to help you live an alcohol-free life.