What is Antabuse, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Disulfiram is an oral drug used for treating alcoholism. Alcohol is converted in the body into acetaldehyde by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. Another enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase then converts acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Disulfiram prevents acetaldehyde dehydrogenase from converting acetaldehyde into acetic acid, leading to a buildup of acetaldehyde levels in the blood.

High acetaldehyde levels cause unpleasant symptoms after drinking alcohol such as:

These unpleasant side effects dissuade alcoholics from drinking.

Is Antabuse available as a generic drug?

Yes, this drug is available in generic form.

Do I need a prescription for this drug?

Yes, you need a prescription from your doctor or other health care professional for this medication.

What are the uses for Anabuse?

Antabuse is used of treating alcoholism. It is used in combination with supportive care and psychotherapy.

Antabuse BLACK BOX WARNING and side effects

When alcohol is consumed by a patient taking disulfiram, effects include:

Common side effects of include:

Possible serious side effects  include:

Antabuse should never be given to a patient who is intoxicated, or without his or her full knowledge. Relatives of patients should be advised about this warning also.
Patients should be fully informed about the Antabuse-alcohol reaction and must be strongly warned about drinking while taking Antabuse. Patients should avoid alcohol in all forms, including alcohol in sauces, vinegars, cough mixtures, mouth wash, aftershave lotions, and back rubs.

Antabuse may cause a reaction with alcohol up to 14 days after ingestion.

Antabuse should be used cautiously in patients with diabetes, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cerebral damage, nephritis, and hepatic impairment.

Antabuse should not be given to people with severe heart disease, people allergic to Antabuse, and people with psychosis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/9/2017

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