Antabuse, also known as disulfiram, is a medication used to treat chronic alcoholism. This drug is prescribed along with behavior modification treatment. Thus, it is not considered to be a cure for alcoholism, but only a temporary prevention method.
How It Works
Antabuse blocks an enzyme in the body that is responsible for creating cravings for alcohol. This enzyme works by increasing the metabolism for alcohol consumption. Antabuse destroys this enzyme and thereby reduces the thirst for alcohol.
The medicine prevents alcoholics from consumption by inducing unpleasant side effects. For instance, drinking alcohol while taking this drug can lead to consequences such as vomiting and upset stomach. Thus, alcoholics are encouraged to stay away from alcohol during this treatment in order to avoid these unpleasant effects.
Apart from methods such as counselling and psychotherapy, medications such as Antabuse have successfully treated many alcoholics. The medication interrupts the processing of alcohol in the body. Thus, even if an individual consumes alcohol during this treatment, it will not affect his or her health negatively due to incomplete digestion.
The dosage of this medication is usually based on the severity of condition as well as the patient’s response to the therapy. Users are advised to take no more than 500mg per dose. This drug should be taken by mouth, either with or without food. Physicians prescribe the medication to be taken only once a day, preferably in the morning. However, if the medication results in drowsiness, you can take it during bedtime.
You must not consume this medication in larger or smaller doses than recommended. Follow your physician’s instructions at all times. Increasing the dosage will not cure alcoholism sooner, but rather will lead to addiction and abuse. Since most patients who use this medication are addicts of alcohol, it is best to leave the medication in the hands of a family member to avoid possible substance abuse problems.
Allergic reactions to Antabuse are uncommon. However, you can experience hives, swelling and breathing difficulties during the early days of treatment. Listed below are some of the side effects that are common amongst individuals who take this drug.
Rapid weight gain
It must be remembered that most side effects of Antabuse will only occur if you drink alcohol. Thus, it is important to stay from it during the treatment process. If you experience any of the above without the influence of alcohol, then contact your health care provider immediately.
Take regular tests to ensure normal liver function.
Do not skip your counselling or therapy sessions when taking this drug.
Take the medication at the same time every day.
Do not consume products that include alcohol (mouthwash, vinegar, cough medicine).
Inform your physician if you become or planning to become pregnant during the course of the treatment.
Following these precautionary methods will enable you to avoid the risk of side effects to a great extent.
Avoiding alcohol during treatment is a huge challenge. So, make sure to stay away from food items and products that might contain tiny amounts of alcohol. You need to avoid non-consumable alcoholic products such as solvents, paint thinners and lacquers.
Do not consume alcohol 12 hours before or after taking this drug. This can lead to immediate side effects such as vomiting and headaches.