Antabuse

Generic Name: Disulfiram

  • What is Antabuse?

    Antabuse is an alcohol-abuse deterrent used for the treatment of alcohol dependence. It works by blocking the breakdown of alcohol, causing unpleasant side effects such as vomiting and upset stomach when even a small amount of alcohol is consumed.
  • What is the most important information I should know about Antabuse?

    Avoid all alcohol including that found in sauces, vinegars, mouthwash, liquid medicines, lotions, after shave, or backrub products. A reaction to alcohol may cause flushing, nausea, thirst, abdominal pain, chest pain, dizziness, vomiting, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat, fainting, difficulty breathing, or confusion.

    Use caution when using topical products containing alcohol, such as cologne or perfume. Before using alcohol-containing products on the skin, test the product by applying some to a small area of the skin. If no redness, itching, headache, or nausea occurs after 1 or 2 hours, you should be able to use the product.

    You may have a reaction if you drink alcohol or use a product that contains alcohol for 2 weeks after your last dose of Antabuse.

    Do not take the first dose of Antabuse for at least 12 hours after your last consumption of alcohol.

    Antabuse may cause drowsiness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Antabuse.

    Using Antabuse alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.

    Notify your doctor immediately if you experience yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, weakness, tiredness, loss of appetite, or nausea and vomiting. These may be signs of a liver problem.

    Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using Antabuse.

    Carry an identification card at all times that says you are taking Antabuse.

    Because of the possibility of an accidental disulfiram-alcohol reaction, Antabuse should be used with extreme caution in patients with any of the following conditions: diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cerebral damage, chronic and acute nephritis (kidney inflammation), liver cirrhosis or insufficiency.

  • Who should not take Antabuse?

    Do not take Antabuse if you are receiving or have recently received metronidazole, paraldehyde, alcohol, or alcohol-containing preparations such as cough syrups and tonics.

    Antabuse should not be given to people who have severe heart disease, psychosis, or hypersensitivity to disulfiram or other thiuram derivatives used in pesticides and rubber vulcanization.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Antabuse?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Antabuse. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of brain damage, diabetes, heart or lung disease, mental or mood problems such as depression, an underactive thyroid, seizures, liver or kidney problems. In addition, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are nursing.
  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: Antabuse should not be taken for at least 12 hours following your last consumption of alcohol.

    When beginning treatment with Antabuse, a maximum of 500 milligrams (mg) daily is taken in a single dose for 1 to 2 weeks. Although usually taken in the morning, Antabuse may be taken at night by those who experience sedative effects. Alternatively, to minimize or eliminate the sedative effects, dosage may be adjusted downward.

    The average maintenance dose is 250 mg daily but can range from 125mg to 500 mg. The dose may be increased but should not exceed 500 mg daily.

    Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

  • How should I take Antabuse?

    Antabuse should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Antabuse should not be used for at least 12 hours following your last consumption of alcohol. Antabuse may be taken with or without food. Antabuse may be swallowed whole, chewed, or crushed and mixed with food.
  • What should I avoid while taking Antabuse?

    Avoid all alcohol and alcohol-containing products (see "What is the most important information I should know about this medication?").

    Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Antabuse.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Antabuse?

    If Antabuse is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Antabuse with the following: alcohol-containing medicine such as amprenavir, cough syrup, or metronidazole; anticoagulants such as warfarin; benzodiazepines such as diazepam; isoniazid; and phenytoin.
  • What are the possible side effects of Antabuse?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: drowsiness, headache, metallic or garlic taste in the mouth, blurred vision, changes in color vision, dark urine, loss of appetite, mental or mood problems, severe allergic reactions (such as rash, hives, swelling in the mouth, face, lips, or tongue)

  • Can I receive Antabuse if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Antabuse during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    This drug should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits clearly outweigh the risks in the judgment of your doctor.

    Women receiving Antabuse should not breastfeed due to the possible excretion of the drug into breast milk.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Antabuse?

    Take it as soon as possible unless it is almost time for the next dose. If a dose is skipped, you should not double the next dose.
  • How should I store Antabuse?

    Store at room temperature.