Antabuse (disulfiram) is used in the treatment of chronic alcoholism. It helps to stop drinking alcohol due to its undesirable side effects which appear if you drink alcohol together with disulfiram treatment course. It can also have other purposes which are not mentioned in this instruction.
Antabuse is prescribed together with psychotherapeutic consultations and some behavior modifications that help to stop alcoholism but it doesn’t cure this disease on its own. This medication blocks the special enzyme which is used in the metabolism of alcohol.
How to use Antabuse?
You shouldn’t give disulfiram to a person without telling him. The incorrect mode of taking the medicine can lead to terrible consequences. Take into consideration the following things before taking the medication:
- do not use it together with alcohol;
- it is also forbidden to drink alcoholic drinks earlier than 14 days after finishing the Antabuse treatment course;
- do not use this drug if you drank alcohol during the last 12 hours;
- do not combine it with metronidazole and paraldehyde;
- all the products and medicines which contain alcohol shouldn’t be mixed with disulfiram;
- follow all the prescription of your doctor and don’t correct the dose on your own;
- the doctor can regulate the intake of the medication in order to get the desirable results;
- do special medical tests regularly to control the liver’s function;
- warn the doctors of other specialties, if necessary, that you undergo the Antabuse treatment;
- in some cases the long-term medication course is required – from several months to several years. For getting the best result, do not suddenly discontinue the treatment;
- if you are undergoing the treatment for alcoholism, the doctor can instruct your family and friends to give you this medicine to be sure that its intake is correct and regular.
During the treatment cycle, the doctor can recommend other consultations or monitoring methods. If you forgot to take the drug just take it when you remembered. The other daily doses should be taken at the same intervals during the day. You should better consult your doctor in such a situation. If you overdosed the medication, seek for the emergent medical help.
Drugs interactions and side effects
Some other medicines can affect disulfiram. That is why it is necessary to warn your doctor if you take other drugs or vitamins to avoid the unwanted consequences. There are some important facts to know about Antabuse intake:
- it is not precisely determined if this drug is harmful to the unborn baby during the pregnancy. If you are pregnant and are planning to undergo Antabuse treatment, discuss it with your doctor, he will give all the necessary recommendations;
- stop breastfeeding during the course of disulfiram;
- the medication should not be taken to people younger than 18 years old without doctor’s consultation.
Even small doses of alcohol can lead to the terrible side effect if you combine them with Antabuse. Among the most common side effects the following ones should be mentioned:
- allergic reactions;
- nausea and vomiting;
- pain in the chest and shortness of breath;
- heart palpitations;
- severe headache and blurred vision;
- constant fatigue and weakness, confused consciousness.
If you’ve taken large doses of alcohol, the abovementioned symptoms can go together. There can be convulsions and respiratory arrest. Sometimes it can even lead to death. If you observe some of these side effects urgently consult your doctor or seek the medical assistance.