According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, disulfiram – also known as Antabuse in its generic form – is a medication prescribed to help treat chronic alcoholism; it causes unpleasant effects when even tiny amounts of alcohol are consumed. Symptoms could include flushing of the face, headaches, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, weakness, blurred vision, mental confusion, sweating, choking, breathing difficulty, anxiety, and more. Disulfiram isn’t a cure for alcoholism, but it does help individuals who are wanting to stop or slow down drinking immensely.

Disulfiram is a white, odorless, almost tasteless powder that serves as an alcohol-sensitizing agent. This medication comes in tablets, and symptoms from the medication could potentially arise from ordinary condiments such as vinegar and other sauces that contain alcohol. As alcohol is consumed, it is metabolized into acetaldehyde, which is then converted into acetic acid. Disulfiram works by preventing the body from converting acetaldehyde into acetic acid, leading a build-up of acetaldehyde to ensue – this is how the unpleasant symptoms of disulfiram are experienced after drinking alcohol. How effective is this medication?

Research is still being conducted as to the effectiveness of disulfiram both short-term and long-term. However, several studies have shown that disulfiram has aided in abstinence of alcohol. Doses of this medication vary, however, as the goal is to ensure that patients experience an unpleasant-enough event after consuming alcohol to help them taper down. A study reported to the National Institute of Health found that some patients needed as much as 1.5 grams daily of the medication to achieve a significant response if alcohol is consumed.  

If you’re considering disulfiram, speak with a physician today. Disulfiram should never be given to someone who is already intoxicated, and individuals with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, epilepsy, cerebral damage, nephritis and hepatic impairment should also be warned against taking this medication, according to Medicine Net. Individuals with severe heart disease and those with an allergic reaction to this medication should avoid this as well. Effects from disulfiram should become effective after 14 days of ingestion.





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