Disulfiram has been used in the treatment of alcohol addiction for a while. As alcoholism is such a common issue that people are dealing with, disulfiram comes as an effective option in stopping the use.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol use disorder is a chronic relapsing brain disease that involves using alcohol compulsively. On average, alcohol use disorder affects around 6% of adults aged 18 years or older. It is also considered the 3rd leading preventable death cause, following tobacco as the 1st one and physical inactivity combined with a bad diet as the 2nd.
To escape this addiction effectively, people need to go to a rehabilitation center where they can go through the right treatment. Quitting it alone is difficult and often impossible, especially if withdrawal symptoms are severe. In a facility where trained healthcare providers take care of the patient, the chances are much higher, especially if Antabuse is prescribed.
Antabuse is the brand name for Disulfiram, which was the very first medication that the United States approved in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. Many trained physicians and professionals have been using this prescription for over 60 years to help people reach and maintain their sober state. Every single year, about 200,000 people in America have to take disulfiram as part of their AUD recovery.
If someone drinks alcohol during their Antabuse treatment, they will go through severe side effects. People will start to experience symptoms such as chest pain, thirst, dizziness, fast heartbeat, and chest pain among others.
However, disulfiram is not a medication that should be used alone when treating AUD. Apart from the prescription drug, other methods should be used as part of a more complex recovery plan, which usually includes:
- Outpatient rehab
- Inpatient rehab
- Family, group, or individual counseling sessions
- Support group meetings
- Addiction-specific therapy
How Antabuse Works
Antabuse or disulfiram works by influencing the acetaldehyde breakdown. Acetaldehyde is an ethanol metabolism byproduct. Disulfiram can prevent a specific chemical’s action, and this chemical is the one that makes the breakdown possible.
As a result, acetaldehyde starts to accumulate in the alcohol addict’s body, which then leads to very severe side effects that are hard to handle alone. Side effects include increased heart rate, nausea and vomiting, and headaches.
Disulfiram is approved in the U.S. in treating alcohol addiction, but it has no approved uses for other issues. At the same time, more research is done on the substance to find out if it may be useful in treating other problems, like different cancer types.
Antabuse Uses in Alcohol Rehab
Over time, Antabuse has proven extremely effective in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. Disulfiram is often prescribed by a healthcare provider after the alcohol leaves the body.
It is essential to do this as there may be very uncomfortable symptoms experienced if alcohol is mixed with the medication. So, once withdrawal symptoms go away, the medication can be taken safely.
The medication should be taken every morning and it comes as a tablet. A strong disulfiram dose is prescribed in the beginning, as it has a stronger effect on the body and higher chances of helping the user manage any alcohol cravings. As the treatment progresses, the Antabuse dose will be adjusted.
Check-up appointments may be scheduled after finishing rehab. The appointments are recommended once every few weeks, as they will help discuss and determine a few things, such as when it’s best to taper off Antabuse and other medications.
Antabuse Side Effects
Despite bringing a lot of benefits to the table, Antabuse also has several side effects. It is normal to experience some of them to an extent. Side effects may be minor or severe.
Some of the minor effects include:
- Acne or skin rash
Usually, these will not be risky and will go away in a few days. No medical attention is necessary in most cases.
But there are also some worse side effects even though they’re very unusual and rare. It is important to know that such severe symptoms require medical attention as soon as possible. They may include:
- Appetite loss
- Skin or eye yellowing
- Dark urine
Moreover, a sedative effect may be caused by the medication. In these cases, the physician may allow you to take the substance later in the day rather than in the morning.
Precautions for Antabuse
During the treatment with Antabuse, it isn’t recommended to drink alcohol or use any products that contain alcohol. Eating particular foods that have alcohol is also not recommended.
Small amounts of alcohol are enough to result in side effects, so it’s crucial to avoid them. The labels of all products should be checked before using them to ensure they do not contain alcohol.
Some products and foods that include alcohol are:
- Cough medicine
- Aftershave, perfume, and cologne
- Hair dye
- Cooking vinegar or wine
Who Shouldn't Take Antabuse?
Antabuse is not suitable for everyone. This is why the physician will want to know as much as possible about the patient. There are a few conditions that make Antabuse unsuitable for certain people.
For instance, pregnant women shouldn’t take Antabuse as it may cause certain effects that affect the health of the fetus. Patients who have a history of psychosis or a history of liver disease should also avoid Antabuse. Moreover, people who have been dealing with coronary occlusion or myocardial disease, as well as high impulsivity levels are not recommended Antabuse.
If someone has been dealing with a seizure disorder or had a history of suicidality, then the healthcare provider will also not prescribe disulfiram.
Real Deal is Here To Help You
Real Deal was created to give people the power and tools necessary to recover from their addiction. Here, people can go through a detoxification process and receive treatment for their addiction.
Moreover, we target the emotional problems that may be influencing the addiction while preventing recovery. At the end of the treatment, you will feel like a new person with healthier coping mechanisms and a desire to improve your life.
Alcohol addiction can be ditched by receiving the right treatment. Antabuse is very effective, so reach out to our professionals and find out if the medication is right for you.