Antabuse (generic name: Disulfiram; brand name: Antabus) is an aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor.
Antabuse is used for treating alcoholism, helping recovering alcoholics abstain from drinking alcohol. It serves as physical and psychological deterrent to someone trying to stop drinking.
Antabuse works by interfering with the way the body metabolises alcohol.
Alcohol is broken down in the body to a compound called acetaldehyde. This is then normally broken down further by an enzyme in the liver called aldehyde dehydrogenase. Antabuse stops this enzyme from working. This means that when alcohol is consumed, the body cannot process it normally. Instead, acetaldehyde accumulates in the bloodstream, causing a variety of unpleasant effects (e.g., flushing, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting) even when a small amount of alcohol is consumed. This reaction to alcohol, known as the disulfiram reaction is usually enough to deter people from having another drink.
The disulfiram-alcohol reaction occurs within ten minutes of ingesting alcohol and may last for several hours. It can be potentially dangerous. For some people, knowing that they cannot drink alcohol without having this reaction is what is needed to prevent them from being tempted in a weak moment.
Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. Take Antabuse exactly as directed.
Antabuse is usually taken once a day. Antabuse may be taken with or without food.
Antabuse may be swallowed whole, chewed, or crushed and mixed with food.
Do not take the first dose of Antabuse for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol.
If you drink alcohol while taking Antabuse, a flushing reaction occurs. In addition, you may feel or be sick, your heart rate may beat faster, you may feel dizzy or get a headache. These symptoms, known as the disulfiram-alcohol reaction, vary in how bad they are from person to person.
Antabuse should never be given to some without their full knowledge or to anyone who is intoxicated.
Avoid alcohol in disguised form, i.e., in sauces, vinegars, cough and cold mixtures, and aftershave lotions or liniments. You should also take care with low alcohol and non-alcohol or alcohol-free beers and wines, as these can also provoke a reaction when consumed in sufficient quantities.
If you miss a dose of Antabuse, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Store Antabuse in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Before taking Antabuse, tell your doctor if:
you are allergic to any medicines;
you have a history of severe heart disease, stroke, or psychotic illness; or high blood pressure;
you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Active ingredient: disulfiram.