Antabuse (disulfiram) blocks an enzyme that is involved in processing alcohol. Disulfiram produces very unpleasant side effects (such as fast heartbeat, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, flushing, and thirst) when combined with alcohol in the body. Antabuse is used in certain people with chronic alcoholism. This medicine can help keep you from drinking because of the unpleasant side effects that will occur if you consume alcohol while taking Antabuse. Antabuse is used together with therapy and counseling support to help you stop drinking. This medicine is not a cure for alcoholism
Take this medication by mouth with or without food, usually once daily in the morning or as directed by your doctor. If this medication causes drowsiness, take it at bedtime.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. The maximum recommended daily dose is 500 milligrams.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Before taking disulfiram, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to thiuram or thiuram-related chemicals (found in pesticides and rubber); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: severe heart/blood vessel disease (e.g., coronary artery disease), certain mental/mood condition (psychosis).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: diabetes, underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), brain disorders (e.g., seizures, brain damage), kidney disease, liver disease, personal or family history of regular use/abuse of drugs.
Avoid all alcoholic beverages or alcohol-containing products/foods (e.g., cough and cold syrups, mouthwash, aftershave, sauces, vinegars) while taking this medication and for 2 weeks after stopping the medication. Check all product labels carefully to make sure that there is no alcohol in the product. Using alcohol, even a small amount, while taking this medication can lead to a reaction that may include flushing, throbbing headache, breathing problems (e.g., shortness of breath, fast breathing), nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme tiredness, fainting, fast/irregular heartbeat, or blurred vision. These symptoms can last from 30 minutes to several hours. Tell your doctor right away if these symptoms occur, especially if they persist or worsen.
A more serious reaction with this medication and alcohol may include trouble breathing, seizures, loss of consciousness, chest/jaw/left arm pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you have these symptoms.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drowsiness, tiredness, headache, acne, and metallic/garlic-like taste in the mouth may occur as your body gets used to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: decreased sexual ability, vision changes, numbness/tingling of arms/legs, muscle weakness, mental/mood changes (e.g., agitation, extreme excitement/confusion), seizures, confusion.
This drug may rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) liver disease. If you notice any of the following unlikely but very serious side effects, tell your doctor right away: persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Take the rest of the day's doses at evenly spaced intervals unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
What should I avoid while taking Antabuse?
Do not drink alcohol while taking Antabuse. Avoid situations that might tempt you to drink.
Be aware that many common products contain small amounts of alcohol, enough to cause a Antabuse reaction. Such products include aftershave, cologne, perfume, antiperspirant, mouthwash, antiseptic astringent skin products, hair dyes, and others. Check the label to see if any food or medicine product contains alcohol. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions.
Avoid coming into contact with non-consumable products that may contain alcohol: paint thinners, solvents, stains, lacquers and others.
Avoid coming into contact with or breathing the fumes of pesticides or chemicals used in manufacturing or certain other industries (waxes, dyes, resins, and gums).