At Magnolia Medical Group, we recognize the severity of alcoholism and the need for effective treatment options. One such option is Antabuse, a medication used to treat alcoholism. Antabuse works by inducing an adverse reaction when alcohol is consumed while taking the medication. We aim to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of Antabuse, including its mode of action, effectiveness, suitability, and usage guidelines, to assist individuals struggling with alcoholism to make informed treatment decisions.

What is Antabuse?

Antabuse, also known as disulfiram, is a medication that is used to treat alcoholism by creating a negative physical reaction when alcohol is consumed, serving as a deterrent to reduce the urge to drink. The active ingredient in Antabuse is disulfiram, which interferes with how the body metabolizes alcohol and cause a number of unpleasant side effects, such as:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Impaired vision
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Problems breathing
  • Mental confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperventilation
  • Tachycardia
  • Hypotension

These unpleasant side effects act as a deterrent for those who are taking Antabuse and help to reduce the urge to drink alcohol.

How Does Antabuse (Disulfiram) Work?

Alcohol is metabolized in the body after consumption and converted into acetaldehyde and then acetic acid. Disulfiram, the active ingredient in Antabuse, works by interrupting this metabolic process and preventing the conversion of acetaldehyde to acetic acid. This leads to an accumulation of acetaldehyde in the bloodstream, which can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and difficulty breathing.

It’s important to note that Antabuse does not address withdrawal symptoms or cravings for alcohol but instead serves as a deterrent to drinking. To be effective, Antabuse should be taken regularly and as prescribed.

How Long Does Disulfiram Stay in the Body?

When taking Antabuse, the active ingredient disulfiram is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and distributed throughout the body. Studies have shown that 80-95 percent of the medication is absorbed, with about 20 percent eliminated from the body. However, the elimination process is slow, and disulfiram can remain in the body for up to two weeks after the last dose. This means that if alcohol is consumed during this period, unpleasant side effects can still occur.

Disulfiram Uses in Addiction Treatment

Disulfiram can be a helpful component of a comprehensive addiction treatment plan. Under the supervision of a medical professional, doses of disulfiram can be continued until the individual is stable and has sustained long-term abstinence from alcohol. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), long-term usage of Antabuse has no defined timeframe, but it can last up to two years. After discontinuing the use of Antabuse, it can be restarted in high-risk relapse situations to ensure continued success in recovery.

Who shouldn’t take disulfiram?

Disulfiram, the active ingredient in Antabuse, is a medication used to treat alcoholism. Disulfiram should be taken consistently to achieve the best results. The following points should be considered before starting treatment with disulfiram:

  • If you have difficulty remembering to take medications, disulfiram may not be the best option.
  • Individuals who have recently taken or are currently taking the antibiotic metronidazole (Flagyl) should not take disulfiram as it can increase the risk of serious side effects.
  • Individuals who take oral liquid medications should ensure that they do not contain alcohol, as it can cause the same unpleasant reaction as alcoholic beverages when combined with disulfiram.
  • Individuals with severe heart problems such as heart failure or coronary artery disease should not take disulfiram as it has been linked to heart-related deaths in certain heart conditions.
  • Individuals with conditions that cause psychosis, such as hallucinations, should avoid disulfiram as it has been reported to cause or worsen such symptoms.

It is essential to inform your healthcare provider and pharmacist about any medications you are taking, including disulfiram, to ensure that there are no drug interactions. Before starting treatment with disulfiram, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of your complete medical history.

Effectiveness of Antabuse for Alcoholism Treatment

The effectiveness of Antabuse in treating alcoholism varies from individual to individual. Studies have shown that it can be an effective tool in reducing the urge to drink alcohol. However, it is important to note that Antabuse should not be used as a standalone treatment for alcoholism. It should be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, such as therapy and counseling.

Seek Effective Alcoholism Treatment in Denver Today!

At Magnolia Medical Group, we understand that overcoming alcoholism can be challenging, and we are dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate support to our patients. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism and would like to explore treatment options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Request a call for consultation or more information today.

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ADDRESS 2925 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 209-5115

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Magnolia Medical Group is licensed with the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health, for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment.

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