What is Antabuse/Disulfiram and How is it Used in Alcoholism Recovery?

Antabuse is a prescribed medication that is often used in alcoholism treatment. It also goes by the names Disulfiram and Antabus. Many have found tremendous relief from alcoholism due to this medication. It has proven to be quite effective to help with alcohol cessation. 

The questions that many people have are:

  • Are there Antabus reviews that prove its effectiveness?
  • Where can you buy Antabuse?
  • Is the Disulfiram pill more effective than the Antabuse implant?
  • How long after stopping Antabus can you drink?
  • How long does 125mg of Disulfiram stay in your system? 

When it comes to medications for alcohol detox, people frequently have a lot of questions. You probably have many questions yourself, that you would like to have answered. We are here to assist you with getting the help you need.

What is Disulfiram

The Disulfiram/Antabuse Definition

Antabuse works by making people acutely sensitive to alcohol. Because of this, when people take Disulfiram, they immediately have a negative response when drinking. The drug causes them to feel as though they have a hangover when they drink any alcohol at all.

The Antabus classification is as a disulfide, just like the name Disulfiram suggests. Disulfiram tablets should only be used under the care of a qualified physician. Disulfiram is known as a Schedule 4 medication.

Disulfiram and Antabuse

How Long Does One Disulfiram Pill Last in the Body?

One Disulfiram pill can last in the body for a very long time. This is because of the Antabuse half-life, which is between 60 to 120 hours. The Disulfiram half-life means that this is the amount of time it takes for half the drug to exit the body. As much as 20% of one dose of Antabuse can remain in the body for a week, or even longer in some cases. This means that you could react negatively to alcohol for as long as 2 weeks.

People often wonder, how do you drink on Antabuse?. The answer is that you really can’t. Even if you wait several hours after your last dose, it could cause problems.

Disulfiram and Antabuse Definition

Disulfiram and Antabus Use

The Typical Antabuse Dosage

Most doctors recommend for their patients to begin taking Antabus 500mg at a time. This dosage is given daily for one or two weeks. After this, the dosage may be cut back to Antabuse 250mg a day. This is the typical maintenance regimen for most people. There may be some cases where Disulfiram 125mg will be prescribed for maintenance if that amount is effective.

Disulfiram and Antabuse Use

How Long Does it Take for Antabus to Work?

Antabuse will start to work within 1 to 2 hours after you take it. Of course, everyone’s Antabus reaction time will be different. Some people may feel its effects right away, while others might take a bit longer.

Antabuse is available in the United Kingdom through an implant, rather than a pill. Some professionals and patients alike feel as though this method of delivering the medication is better. 

When you have the Antabus implant, you get medication delivered to your body slowly, for 12 months straight. Doctors appreciate this method because it forces their patients to remain compliant. The Disulfiram implant price is also quite comparable to the pill. 

There is no telling when the Antabuse implant might be available in the USA. Right now, people are still only using the Antabus tablets. However, this could change a lot in the years to come.

In order to get a prescription for Antabuse, you have to go to the doctor. This is a drug that is frequently prescribed on an outpatient basis. Please note that you cannot buy Antabus over the counter. It has to be gotten by prescription only. Also, there are no non-prescription Antabus alternatives.

When taking Disulfiram, side effects are common. Remember that this is a powerful drug that must be taken with extreme care. Some Antabus side effects are typical, and should be expected, while others are problematic, and need to be reported. 

Common Antabuse side effects include: 

  • Acne, and possibly a skin rash
  • A mild headache
  • Feeling drowsy or tired
  • Having a metallic taste in the mouth
  • A lack of interest in sex, or possible impotence 

Serious side effects of Disulfiram include: 

  • Signs of an allergic reaction
  • Feeling confused
  • Exhibiting unusual thoughts or strange behaviors
  • Extreme fatigue
  • A slow heart rate, or a weak pulse

There are some drugs that should not be taken along with Disulfiram. These can include: 

  • Dilantin
  • Certain vitamins and minerals
  • Blood thinners, such as Coumadin
  • Elavil
  • Isonizid
  • Any medication that could possibly contain alcohol 

When taking Antabuse, patients are strictly instructed not to drink alcohol of any kind. In fact, they must refrain from drinking alcohol for quite some time. The goal of this medication is to make alcohol less attractive, and the drug does a very good job of this. 

It’s so important for you to heed these Disulfiram contraindications. The indications behind Antabuse are strict, and you don’t want to make yourself sick.

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How Long Can You Take Disulfiram and Antabuse?

How Long Can You Take Disulfiram?

Antabus is actually approved for long-term Disulfiram use. In fact, studies have shown that it only contributes to longer periods of sobriety. While people who take it often do suffer from relapses, they are usually quick to get back on track. 

Many doctors believe that Antabus is a remarkable drug that has the capability of helping alcoholics recover. In both Europe, and in the United States, Disulfiram is frequently prescribed to those with alcoholism symptoms. It has been approved for long-term use.

The Long-Term Effects of Disulfiram

People who are taking Disulfiram should be sure to make every appointment with their doctors. It’s important to follow up with your doctor while taking this medication because of the risk of long-term side effects. 

Taking Disulfiram long-term can put you at risk for: 

  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Skin conditions or rashes
  • Chronic fatigue 

Fortunately, most of the side effects of Antabus are mild in nature. People can usually overlook them because of the good the drug is doing for them. One of the more difficult Antabuse side effects is weight gain. People should be aware of the chance of gaining weight prior to starting this drug.

Disulfiram and Antabuse Risks

Antabuse Abuse and the Risks Involved

There are some drugs that are taken to help with addiction recovery that can be abused. The good news is that Antabuse isn’t one of them. Even so, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t risks involved with taking it.

People will frequently try to figure out how to get around Disulfiram so they don’t feel the effects.

They may do research on how to get Antabuse out of your system fast so that you can drink. It’s really not possible. Antabus is a drug that takes some time to leave your body. There are no shortcuts with this medication if you choose to drink alcohol while taking it.

People frequently wonder, “I took one Antabuse. Can I drink alcohol?” They may think that because they took less than the usual Disulfiram dosage, the effectiveness will be lower. That’s just not the way this medication works.

Antabuse has a very long half-life. That means that even if you only took a small dose today, yesterday’s Disulfiram dose is still in your body. In fact, even drinking 48 hours after Antabus isn’t recommended. You really need to wait up to 14 days after your last dose of Antabuse to consume alcohol.

Sometimes people will throw caution to the wind, and just go ahead and have a drink. For most people, this only happens one time. This is because drinking on Antabuse produces side effects that are pretty severe. You are likely to experience:

  • Intense and frequent vomiting
  • A pounding headache
  • Severe anxiety
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Weakness throughout the body
  • Feeling confused
  • Blurry vision 

When you drink on Antabuse, you feel like you have a terrible hangover after just a little alcohol. This can even be true if you consume alcohol through medication, or through your food. It’s a powerful drug that does not mix well with alcohol at all. This is what makes it so effective for alcoholics.

While there are many people who believe Antabus to be wonderful, there are others who only see it as problematic. One of the reasons for this is that Antabuse does nothing to help with cravings for alcohol. For this reason, some people believe that another drug might be better, such as Naloxone or Naltrexone. Cravings can make it very difficult to stay on the right path with recovery. 

Another problem with Disulfiram is the fact that people need to be compliant when they take it. All too often, people will “forget” to take their medication for weeks at a time. Suddenly, it’s out of their systems, and they just go back to drinking. For this reason, many physicians wonder if Antabuse is really all that effective. As many as 80% of people who use Antabus simply stop taking it. 

Finally, Disulfiram makes people very sensitive to alcohol from any source. They may inadvertently get exposed to alcohol, and suffer from a severe reaction. Patients are instructed to avoid cooking alcohols and products like cough medicine and mouthwash. Any of these can lead to a severe reaction to the alcohol in the products.

Many doctors simply don’t prescribe Antabuse for their patients. A growing number of them feel that it’s not nearly as effective as something like Alcoholics Anonymous. Many doctors would rather have their patients in alcohol rehab than relying on Antabus. They say that it serves more as a crutch than anything else. 

It’s also important to note that the Disulfiram contraindications list is pretty long. Doctors may be deterred from prescribing this drug because they’re nervous about drug interactions. It can also make certain medical problems much worse.

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Is There Disulfiram Prescription Assistance?

If you don’t have health insurance, prescription assistance for Antabus may be available for you. You also may be able to buy Antabuse online through an Internet drug store. In some cases, you can find Antabuse online cheap. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase Antabuse over the counter, and you do need a prescription.

Is Antabuse Right for You?

Here at Northpoint Evergreen Bellevue, we know that you have just been given a lot of information. You may have been thinking about taking Antabuse for quite some time. You only hesitated because you didn’t have all the information necessary to make the right decision. 

It is our hope that you have found this information to be useful. When it comes down to it, Antabuse is much like other addiction drugs. It has its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. It might be helpful for you to talk with your doctor about whether or not Antabus will work for you. 

If your doctor feels that this is not the right choice for you, there is still hope. It might help you tremendously to talk with someone about alternative addiction treatment.

You may find that an IOP program offers you the flexibility you need as you recover. Even if you do begin using Antabuse, an IOP program can help to support you moving forward.

Every alcoholic faces different challenges, and everyone has their own sobriety goals. Regardless of what your goals are, we are confident that we can help you achieve them. It might seem impossible to stop drinking, but Antabus can help with that if it’s right for you. There are many methods of recover that can help. 

Do you have additional questions on whether or not Antabuse is right for you? Contact us to get more information.

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Antabuse and Disulfiram - How it is Used in Recovery