Antabuse is a popular medication taken by patients to treat alcoholism, because it works by interfering with the way the human body breaks down alcohol. When patients drink alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine, they experience a number of unpleasant symptoms, thus, removing their urge to drink. Antabuse is often used in the right combination with psychotherapy and supportive care.
Basic Antabuse Facts
This dug shouldn’t be given to those patients who are intoxicated or without their full understanding. They need to be fully informed about possible reactions to alcohol and must be warned about drinking while undergoing this treatment. Users need to avoid alcohol in any available forms, including vinegars, sauces, mixtures, aftershave lotions, cough mixtures and others.
Antabuse may cause unwanted and unpleasant reactions with alcohol up to 2 weeks after its ingestion. Those patients who have such conditions as hypothyroidism, diabetes, nephritis, epilepsy and some others should be careful with its intake. This medication isn’t recommended to those people who have serious allergies, heart diseases and psychosis.
Possible Antabuse Side Effects
When alcohol is consumed by people who take this medication, they end up with the following side effects:
Nausea and vomiting;
Facial flushing and sweating;
Throbbing headaches and thirst;
Dizziness and fainting;
Shortness of breath and blurred vision;
Liver problems and confusion;
Abnormal or irregular heartbeats.
There are other less common side effects associate with its intake, such as:
Unusual tiredness and drowsiness;
Acne and headaches;
Impotence and skin rash;
Garlic-like or metallic taste in the mouth;
Sore or swollen tongue.
The use of Antabuse is associated with some serious side effects, but they are very rare and include:
Optic neuritis and hepatitis;
Polyneuritis and psychotic disorder;
If you experience any severe adverse effects when taking this drug, contact your doctor immediately.
Available Preparations and Doses
Nowadays, you can find Antabuse as standard tablets that contain 250 and 500 mg. This treatment shouldn’t be started unless patients stopped drinking alcohol. Their common initial dosage is 500 mg taken on a daily basis for up to 2 weeks. After this period of time, their maintenance dosage is 125-500 mg used daily, and this treatment is continued until people develop the necessary self-control. So, their maintenance therapy can be required for a few months and even years.
Mechanism of Action
Antabuse is an oral medication taken to treat alcoholism, and it works by preventing acetaldehyde from being converted into acetic acid. It results in increased levels of acetaldehyde in people’s blood and unpleasant symptoms after drinking alcohol. This drug was approved by the FDA in 1951, so its use is reliable, proven and safe.