Disulfiram (Antabuse) for Alcoholism Treatment


Disulfiram is used to treat alcoholism. It produces horrible effects when even tiny volumes of alcohol are ingested. These effects include facial flushing, headaches, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, weakness, blurred vision, mental confusion, sweating, choking, difficulty breathing, and anxiety. The symptoms of the so-called Disulfiram Ethanol Reaction start nearly 5–10 minutes after spirits enter the bloodstream and last for hours, depending on the person’s weight. Disulfiram is not a cure for alcoholism, but it discourages alcohol consumption.

Antabuse/Disulfiram is the most popular treatment for alcoholism. Alcohol abuse is a big challenge to society nowadays, and the issue worsens daily.

Disulfiram is widely prescribed To help alcoholics overcome alcoholism and stay free. It needs more than a coping strategy—talk therapy, counseling, support, and self-help groups. 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 people overcome this strong and stubborn addiction. Even though the drug cannot cure the disease by ingesting it, it can serve as a powerful incentive to discourage alcoholics from consuming liquor and staying sober.

What is alcoholism? Causes of alcoholism and Symptoms of alcoholism

Millions of people in the United States ruined their lives with the addition of alcohol. Alcohol addiction affects people’s lives, and our generation is in danger. Alcoholism and abuse are also big challenges for the government. Alcoholism, alcohol dependence, and alcohol addiction are the same things; some factors cause all, and all have the same outcomes. The physical and mental dependence on alcohol is called alcohol addictionAlcoholism is the most genuine type of drinking problem. Alcoholism can be successfully treated at the Philadelphia Addiction Center, where implant therapy for alcoholism is the ultimate treatment for alcohol addiction.

Are alcoholism and alcohol abuse the same?

No. These terms are different, and let us explain this difference briefly.

Symptoms of alcoholism

  • Feeling tired, unwell, or irritable when not consuming alcohol
  • An inability to say no to alcohol and to control drinking
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems
  • I need to drink more to achieve satisfaction

What is Alcohol abuse?

Alcohol abuse is an old psychiatric determination in which there is the repeating destructive utilization of ethanol despite its negative results. At the point when there is binge drinking, it is a circumstance of alcohol abuse. Drinking excessively without worrying about the results of drinking is called alcohol abuseAlcohol abuse ordinarily overwhelms consumers who keep drinking without taking care of the results of binge drinking. Abusers of alcohol may not drink consistently, and they can’t declare themselves alcohol-addicted or dependent.

Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Though the symptoms of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are quite the same. Some of these symptoms are stated below:

  • Inability to control the drinking and drinks more and more.
  • If a person is not involved in extracurricular activities
  • Hangover symptoms in the morning.

Antabuse Disulfiram To Treat Alcoholism

What 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 body fitness. The patient’s complete medical history will also be required to determine these indices and needs 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 suits you.

Disulfiram-Ethanol  Reaction (DER)

The antabuse reaction takes effect within 10 minutes as the doctor prescribes. 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 consequences, 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 reactions 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 seeing if the skin begins to flush. This test determines how sensitive you are to Antabuse and cautions you against deliberate or non-deliberate ingestion of alcohol once treatment starts. Deliberate ingestion involves taking alcoholic drinks, while non-deliberate is using items with 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.

A doctor must supervise antabuse medication. This will help in the safe treatment of patients to affect changes that may be necessary, such as dosage due to severe drug reactions. A physician does recommend that patients on Antabuse treatment wear a 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 desserts with uncooked alcohol in them
  • Avoid Antabuse if you have recently taken metronidazole or paraldehyde

Pros and Cons of Disulfiram Treatment

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 alcohol is consumed by making you sick and uncomfortable. It works against the notion that the certainty of an unpleasant reaction will discourage the user from taking alcohol. This, over time, reduces the longing for alcohol and eventual abstinence. Initially, the craving remains strong, but when dutifully and sincerely followed through, it wears out gradually, yielding the expected result.



Disulfiram Ethanol Reaction starts as soon as 15-20 minutes after consumption of alcohol-containing products. The patient may intentionally skip the daily intake of Disulfiram to avoid the reaction while consuming alcohol.
Disulfiram Ethanol Reaction makes consumption of spirits almost impossible. The patient should maintain a recommended level of Disulfiram in his/her bloodstream.
When the family is involved in addiction treatment, and the patient takes Antabuse regularly, this approach becomes very effective. Disulfiram is a highly toxic ingredient and can lead to liver and kidney diseases, heart attacks, and even strokes if taken over six months.

If disulfiram is used as an Esperal implant, all the above cons become obsolete.

  • The patient can’t skip  daily intake of Disulfiram
  • The patient shouldn’t maintain the level of Disulfiram. It is infused into the patient’s bloodstream when the alcohol blood level goes above the predetermined boundaries.
  • As long as the patient doesn’t consume alcohol, Disulfiram is not in the bloodstream. It is stored in an isolated container and released only when alcohol is consumed. That guarantees zero toxic effect of Disulfiram.

How to make Antabuse treatment more effective and less harmful?

Philadelphia Addiction Center is prestigious for helping an individual quit alcohol by which they get the chance to live their lives more amusingly and full of enthusiasm. 

Antabuse / Disulfiram Treatment for Alcohol Abuse is considered a nostrum treatment with successful results and is widely used worldwide for alcohol abuse.

The new French Disulfiram-based ESPERAL implant virtually resolves all Cons listed above.

The Esperal implant consists of a thin film microchip and micro ampoule. Five tiny crystals of highly concentrated Disulfiram are isolated in the container and have no contact with the 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 a patient who doesn’t drink will never intake a dose of Disulfiram, and his/her body systems are intact.

If, however, the alcohol level in the bloodstream rises 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 every single crystal of the same ingredient from Esperal holds 15,000 mg.

Antabuse/Disulfiram Treatment using Esperal Implant

Esperal implants are the nascent approach for implant therapy for alcoholism. The main component of Esperal is Disulfiram

Disulfiram is known for its reactive properties to alcohol. Disulfiram aka AntabuseWhen alcohol is consumed while taking the disulfiram treatment, it causes severe reactions that are incredibly uncomfortable for the patients. Antabuse treatment is the most successful treatment for alcoholism and alcohol abuse because of the unpleasant and severe outcomes for the patients. Some of the side effects of Disulfiram on the human body when even a tiny amount of alcohol is consumed are 

  • Severe chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing becomes quite tricky, or there is choking
  • Blurred vision and weakness
  • A lot of sweating even in winters

However, when antabuse or disulfiram is used as an Esperal Implant, the addict’s body has no contact with the chemical unless alcohol is consumed. That means that most patients (in our practice, 99.9%) never experience the disulfiram ethanol reaction, aka DER, and any toxic effect of this drug is virtually impossible.

Is antabuse treatment completely safe?

This is the question that people are generally having in their minds. Though Disulfiram has many side effects on human bodies, as discussed above, it is also a safe treatment subject to be done under the watch of a qualified and experienced physician. It is highly recommended to use Antabuse under the surveillance of a physician. Otherwise, it may lead to acne, impotence, headaches, skin rashes, drowsiness, and other disorders.

Esperal implants resolve this issue and are one hundred percent safe. Check out our article about Esperal and become an educated patient before you decide on your future treatment approach.

Antabuse-based Esperal implant is a valuable component of the treatment program for alcoholism.

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

At the Philadelphia Addiction Center, we aim to help you get to the roots of your addiction to achieve a full and lasting recovery. We work hand in hand with you to help you take back control of your life.
Our evidence-based approach to treatment for alcoholism utilizes disulfiram therapy, behavior therapy, and support building for a holistic means of recovery.

Contact our center to schedule your appointment with Dr. Tsan or use our online booking application.

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