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When a person is not able to control their drinking of alcoholic beverages, it is recommended that the use of Antabuse (Odyssey Pharmaceuticals, Florham Park, NJ, USA) be considered.

Antabuse in combination with ethanol causes nausea, vomiting, flushes of blood to the face, tachycardia, and hypotension. Such unpleasant symptoms eventually provoke a conditioned reflex aversion to the smell and taste of any alcoholic beverage.

Antabuse is produced in the form of white effervescent tablets, which should be dissolved in water prior to oral ingestion. Typically, there are 50 or 100 tablets in a pack, while the concentration of the active substance is 250 mg or 500 mg.

Composition and active ingredient

The active component of the drug, disulfiram, was initially used in the manufacturing of rubber. However, since the 1940s, it has also been actively used in medications. Disulfiram plays a role in the altered metabolism of alcohol due to its stable therapeutic effect.

Indications for use

Chronic alcoholism can be successfully cured with the help of Antabuse tablets. The medication can act either as a primary or secondary therapy.

Mode of application

The scheme of individual therapy is as prescribed by a doctor, and the tablets are recommended only for oral use. A single dose of Antabuse is required to be dissolved in water via mixing. Tablets should be consumed in the breaks between meals. Three days before the start of the treatment course, it is required that the patient stop drinking alcohol and undergo an evaluation for hidden diseases.

Dosage and duration of treatment

Most patients have typically prescribed 250 mg to 500 mg per day, but, if necessary, the indicated dosage can be repeated after several hours (i.e., the optimal pattern of administration is in the morning and the evening). The duration of intensive care is generally discussed in a strictly individual manner.

Side effects

This medical product, when combined with ethanol, provokes acute poisoning of the body. The emergence of vegetative disorders pathologically reduces the quality of life and, for the patient, alcohol becomes less attractive.

Side effects are characterized by the following manifestations in the body:

  • Gastrointestinal tract: nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bad breath
  • Central nervous system: depression of the nervous system, tremor, migraine attack, optic neuritis, encephalopathy, impaired physical coordination
  • Mental disorders: mania, kicks, euphoria, schizophrenia, paranoia
  • Genitourinary system: sexual dysfunction, decreased libido, frigidity, impotence
  • Cardiovascular system: tachycardia, aneurysm, dyspnea, hypertensive crisis, arrhythmia, dizziness, cardiosclerosis, stroke, heart attack, fainting, postinfarction
  • Hemopoiesis: fragility of small vessels, thrombosis, spasms, visible bruising
  • Skin: hyperhidrosis, reddening of the dermis, flushing in the face, local and allergic reactions

Contraindications

Antabuse should be taken only on the individual recommendation of the attending physician, following a preliminary study of the instructions for use.

The contraindications for this medication are (1) extensive pathologies of the cardiovascular system, with violation of the coronary circulation, aortic aneurysm, or atherosclerosis; (2) neuritis or glaucoma; (3) renal or hepatic insufficiency; (4) neuropsychiatric disorders, including amnesia, confusion, suicide attempts, and personality disorder; (4) acute alcohol intoxication; (5) bronchial asthma, tuberculosis, or emphysema of the lungs; (6) age under 18 years; (7) pregnancy or lactation; (8) progressive oncology; and (9) hypersensitivity to synthetic components in the drug.