Disulfiram (Antabuse) for alcoholism treatment

Treatment of Alcohol addiction with Disulfiram (Antabuse)

In order to overcome alcoholism and to stay in free needs more than a coping strategy, talk therapy, counselling, support, and self-help group. A viable and proven treatment for alcoholism is the use of Disulfiram also known as Antabuse. One of the oldest pharmaceutical therapies, available since the 1940s, Disulfiram has helped many overcome this strong addiction. Even though the drug cannot cure the disease all in itself by ingesting it, it can serve as a powerful incentive to discourage alcoholics from consuming liquors and stay sober.

Antabuse Disulfiram To Treat Alcoholism

Disulfiram has its pros and cons both for usage and whom to use. It is not meant for everyone as it requires seeking and guaranteeing medical fitness from a physician before taking this treatment.

Disulfiram is often medically prescribed and taken orally once daily to encourage abstinence, a relapse or to help failed attempts in staying free from alcoholism Disulfiram is often medically prescribed and taken orally once daily to encourage abstinence, a relapse or to help failed attempts in staying free from alcoholism.

It works when taken by making you sick and uncomfortable to your stomach if you choose to have a drink. It works against the notion that the certainty of an unpleasant reaction will discourage the user from going ahead to take alcohol. This in turn over time reduces the longing for alcohol and eventual abstinence. Initially, craving remains strong, but when dutifully and sincerely followed through, it wears out gradually, yielding the expected result.

Whom is Antabuse /  Disulfiram meant for?

Medical fitness examination must first be guaranteed before a person begins disulfiram treatment. This examination is carried out to determine the state of the heart, liver, kidney and other vital organs to establish the body fitness. The complete medical history of patients will also be required to determine these indices and needs the full cooperation from the patient.

An unfit person who takes Disulfiram medication stands the risk of skin rashes, liver damage, cardiovascular problems, convulsions, respiratory difficulties, coma or even death. The fitness examination helps to determine what suit you.

Disulfiram-Ethanol  Reaction (DER)

Antabuse reaction takes effect 10 minutes of taking it as prescribed by the doctor. This dose may adversely react to alcohol for as long as two weeks or more. For a starter, a vulnerable feeling to relapse may set in after but weighing the consequence such as vomiting, nausea, and headache will deter you from giving in to such.

The sequence of a reaction of taking alcohol when on Antabuse medication is as follows:

  • Flushing of face
  • Followed by Headache
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Faster Heartbeat
  • Convulsions
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and
  • Vomiting often with blood.

Some people show even stronger reaction than these, and it is advisable to do a quick test to determine your sensitivity to Antabuse. This can be done by rubbing some alcohol on the skin and see if the skin begins to flush. This test is to determine how sensitive you are to Antabuse and to caution you against deliberate or non-deliberate ingestion of alcohol once treatment start. Deliberate ingestion as to do with taking alcoholic drinks while non-deliberate is the use of items that has high alcoholic content such as cosmetics, medicines and household cleaning items that contain the spirit. Caution must be taken to avoid these items from causing an unpleasant reaction in your system.

Antabuse medication must be supervised by a doctor. This will help in the safe treatment of patients to affect changes that may be necessary such as dosage due to strong drug reaction. A physician does recommend that patient on Antabuse treatment wears special ID card or form of identification always to help in case of emergency.

Do’s and Don’ts for Antabuse / Disulfiram

  • Ensure you wait for not less than 24 hours after your last consumption of alcohol before starting Antabuse.
  • Confirm a more accurate time to wait from your doctor before starting because this varies with the amount of alcohol taken and your body weight.
  • Antabuse must not be taken by a pregnant woman or anyone trying to be pregnant.
  • Avoid some cough syrups and desert with uncooked alcohol in them
  • Avoid Antabuse if you have recently taken metronidazole or paraldehyde
Pros and Cons of Antabuse treatment



Disulfiram Ethanol Reaction starts as soon as 15-20 minutes after consumption of alcohol containing productsPatient may intentionally skip daily intake of Disulfiram to avoid the reaction while consuming alcohol
Disulfiram Ethanol Reaction makes consumption of spirits almost impossiblePatient should maintain recommended level of Disulfiram in his/her bloodstream
When family involved in addiction treatment and patient takes Antabuse on a regular basis, this treatment approach becomes very effectiveDisulfiram is the extremely toxic ingredient and if taken longer than 6 months can lead to liver and kidneys’ diseases, heart attacks, and even strokes.

How to make Antabuse treatment more effective and less harmful?

New French Disulfiram based implant ESPERAL virtually resolves all Cons listed above.

The Implant consists of the thin film microchip and micro ampoule. Five tiny crystals of highly concentrated Disulfiram isolated in the container and have no contact with patient’s body. The microchip checks the alcohol level in the patient’s bloodstream and does nothing as long as it is within normal limits. This means, that a patient who doesn’t drink will never intake a single dose of Disulfiram and his/her body systems are intact.

If, however, the level of alcohol in the bloodstream raises above 0.1 mg of alcohol/100 ml Esperal drops one crystal of Disulfiram into the capillary system and the reaction starts. The reaction caused by Esperal is much stronger than the reaction caused by Antabuse pills. Usually, pills of Antabuse prescribed by a physician contain 250 or 500 mg of Disulfiram, but each single crystal of the same ingredient from Esperal holds 15,000 mg.

Antabuse – is a valuable component of the treatment program for alcoholism

Overcoming addiction to alcohol comes with a great sense of fulfillment and price to pay. Seek help using a combination of not only pharmaceutical therapy but other therapies in combination. Don’t do it alone and if you follow instructions given, you will be free.

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