Antabuse is a type of drug that is used for treating chronic alcoholism. It is the brand name of a prescription drug disulfiram. It helps in blocking the enzyme that works in metabolizing alcohol in the body. It causes unpleasant symptoms even if alcohol is consumed in small amounts. The people consuming it should be aware of the symptoms beforehand.
The effects mentioned are seen to occur 10 minutes after consuming alcohol and may last for an hour. Antabuse is used along with different forms of therapy, like counselling, psychotherapy, and behaviour modification.
Composition of antabuse
The other name of antabuse is disulfiram. It is an alcohol antagonist drug. The drug is odourless and almost tasteless and found in the powder form. The colour ranges from white to off-white. It dissolves in water to the extent of 20 mg in 100 ml water, and about 3.8 g in 100 ml of alcohol.
Each tablet contains disulfiram, USP. The inactive ingredients in antabuse are:
- Stearic acid
- Microcrystalline cellulose
- Sodium starch glycolate
- Colloidal silicon dioxide
- Anhydrous lactose
- Magnesium stearate
Uses of antabuse
This type of medication is usually required in counselling process and for treating alcoholism. The processing of alcohol is blocked by the help of disulfiram. This results in a bad reaction when the person consumes alcohol.
Side-effects of antabuse
There are many associated side-effects that may occur after the use of antabuse. Some of them might require medical attention, whereas, some may not require any medical attention as such. When the body gets used to the medicine, the side-effects tend to disappear. The doctor will inform the patient about the different ways of reducing as well as preventing these side-effects.
Some of the bothersome side-effects of this drug are mentioned below:
- Mental or mood changes
- Tenderness or eye pain or any type of vision changes
- Pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the feet or hands
- Severe stomach pain
- Light and gray-coloured stools
- Colour of the urine darkens
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Garlic-like or metallic taste in the mouth
- Decreased sexual activity among males
- Unusual tiredness
- Skin rash
- Lack of interest in sex
- Vomiting or upset stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Severe chest pain that may spread to the shoulder or jaw
- Weak pulse or slow heart rate
- Shallow and weak breathing
- Unusual behaviours or thoughts
Contraindications of antabuse
If the patient has any of the following conditions, he/she should be refrained from antabuse:
- Allergy to thiuram analogues
- Severe heart failure
- Epileptic seizure
- Liver problems
- Brain dysfunctions
- Kidney problems
Antabuse and pregnancy
The harmful effect of antabuse on pregnant women is not yet known. But they are harmful for the new-born when the mother is breastfeeding. The doctor should be informed in advance if the patient is pregnant or plans on getting pregnant.
How To Deal With Alcoholism
Alcoholism or alcohol addiction is a major problem that needs to be addressed in our current time. Before even proceeding with the treatment, it is necessary to accept that there is a problem. It won’t be easy to accept the issue. But, it is a road you must take when you want to make progress.
Alcoholism is a condition that refers to the inability to control your alcohol intake. In such a case, cutting back won’t really help. You will have to give up consuming alcohol completely. For doing so, your doctor will recommend several methods that can help you in the process of recovery.
How To Treat Alcohol Addiction?
There is no such cure to this problem. The treatment process is quite lengthy and requires significant amount of dedication at your part. Your personal circumstances will determine your treatment plan which may include:
- Your case history before having alcohol addiction
- The support level you receive from your friends and family
- Your personal commitment in moving ahead with the treatment
- Financial condition
If you are up for it, you can book an appointment with your doctor today. You will be asked some questions to determine your addiction level. This will help in choosing the correct treatment plan for you. Your doctor may also want to speak to your family members and friends to understand your problem in detail. Some of the treatment options used for alcoholism are discussed below.
Many of the treatment plans start after a detoxification program to help in breaking the body’s physical addiction. This method is usually conducted in a hospital or inpatient therapy treatment centre. The procedure will require at least a week to finish. The withdrawal symptoms can be really dramatic which may require medication to help ease them. The symptoms include:
You may also be referred to group or one-on-one counselling. You will find support groups to be quite helpful in dealing with alcohol addiction. It will let you see that other people also have a similar problem as you do. They will provide encouragement, advice you, or even answer questions that others may not be able to answer.
Many people addicted to alcohol are really addicted to the habit or act involved in drinking. Therefore, it is helpful to learn coping mechanisms or skills that will work in letting you avoid alcohol after you leave the treatment centre where all the environmental factors will work as they used to before. Your doctor may ask you to consult a counsellor or therapist to help you with the coping strategies and skills.
Some of the medications used for treating alcoholism are:
- Disulfiram (lowers the desire to engage in drinking by making you nauseous whenever you consume alcohol)
- Naltrexone (it will block the feel-good effects caused by alcohol)
- Acamprosate (helps in combating alcohol cravings by helping the body restore the chemical balances)
Medications are found in the form of tablets as well as in the form of injections. The injected medication is better for those who are likely to forget taking their medication.