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What is Antabuse?


Antabuse is an adjuvant in the treatment of chronic alcoholism that acts on the metabolism of alcohol in the body. In particular, disulfiram inhibits aldehyde dehydrogenase, an enzyme responsible for the oxidation of acetaldehyde, an alcohol metabolite. Following the consumption of alcohol there is an accumulation of acetaldehyde in the body which causes the appearance of the so-called “acetaldehyde syndrome”, during which the patient feels a sensation of heat, headache, dyspnea, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, tachycardia, hypotension, pronounced anxiety, weakness, vertigo and mental confusion. The duration of this symptomatology varies from 30 to 60 minutes, but can last for a few hours in the most serious cases until the alcohol remains in the blood.

What is Antabuse used for?

Disulfiram or Antabuse is a drug that can deter the patient from drinking, because if the person drinks alcoholic beverages it causes:

  • vomiting, feeling of nausea, nausea
  • redness and sensation of heat in the face and upper chest and limbs
  • tachycardia
  • difficulty breathing
  • hypotension and cardiovascular collapse

How does Antabuse work? (Mechanism of action)

The drug works when alcohol enters the circulation, and changes its metabolism in such a way as to produce a sort of “poisonous” reaction due to the accumulation of acetaldehyde. The most common symptoms of this reaction are hot flashes, general malaise, nausea and vomiting, palpitation, headache. Depending on the amount of alcohol introduced, and the dose of disulfiram taken, the reaction may be mild to heavy, and potentially risky on the cardiovascular level.

How long does Antabuse stay in your system?

Antabuse has a long half-life that lasts between 60 and 120 hours. This ensures the efficacy of the drug, being a part of its mechanism, and giving unpleasant effects to a person in case of alcohol consumption. How long should one wait after taking Antabuse before drinking alcohol? The approximate answer to this is 2 weeks, but the time estimated varies from one patient to another.

What are the side effects?

Type Of Disorder Very Rare / Uncommon / Frequency Unestablished Rare Common
Psychiatric Psychotic reactions, depression, paranoia, schizophrenia, mania
Nervous system Encephalopathy peripheral neuropathy, optic neuritis. drowsiness (at the start of treatment), headache
Gastrointestinal nausea, vomiting, halitosis, gastric pain, diarrhea
Immune system Hypersensitivity
Hepato-biliary Liver damage, fulminant hepatitis, hepatic necrosis Jaundice, high AST, ALT and bilirubin values
Skin and subcutaneous tissue tissue Allergic dermatitis with rash, pruritus, acne-like eruption
General disorders and administration site conditions Asthenia (at the beginning of treatment)
Reproductive system Reduced libido, sexual dysfunction


Antabuse should never be administered without the patient’s knowledge.

Antabuse must be used with the utmost caution in subjects suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, epilepsy, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, liver and kidney failure, brain damage and contact dermatitis caused by the gum. Antabuse should not be used during alcohol use, within 24 hours of the last alcohol ingestion and in patients who are not perfectly conscious.

Patients starting therapy should be informed and aware that they should not consume alcohol during treatment and for 14 days after discontinuing Antabuse, since disulfiram prevents ethanol metabolism and causes the accumulation of acetaldehyde in the body . This accumulation can cause the alcohol-disulfiram reaction with the serious adverse effects described in the section Undesirable effects.

Patients should be aware that the alcohol-disulfiram reaction is unpleasant, sometimes unpredictable and intense.



Individual hypersensitivity to the active substance (disulfiram) or to any of the excipients. Antabuse is contraindicated in subjects suffering from serious cardiovascular (coronary heart failure) and cerebrovascular disorders, untreated hypertension, psychosis, personality disorders, in subjects who have recently been treated with alcohol-containing preparations (cough syrups, drops, tonic or similar). Patients treated with Antabuse should not be exposed to Ethylene Dibromide and its vapors.

Antabuse should never be given to patients who are intoxicated with alcohol, or if they are not perfectly conscious.

Antabuse should not be used in children and adolescents under the age of 18. Antabuse should not be used during breastfeeding.

What happens if you drink on Antabuse

Disulfiram causes an irreversible block of aldehyde dehydrogenase, an enzyme that metabolizes alcohol. In the case of alcohol intake, the accumulation of acetaldehyde is considered to be the main factor of the alcohol-disulfiram reaction. The reaction often develops within 15 minutes of exposure to alcohol; the symptoms generally peak from 30 minutes to 1 hour and gradually decrease within a few hours. The symptoms can be serious and life-threatening.

Where to buy Antabuse

Provided that you are approved for the use of disulfiram by a board-certified specialist, you should not find it problematic to buy Antabuse online or at a local pharmacy. Seeing that it is more economical to buy Antabuse online, you will win twice when ordering the drug with home delivery: by saving money and buy protecting your healthcare privacy.

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Customer reviews
By Doyle
Posted on 13/12/2019
Hi, I have been doing psychotherapy for 5 years: individual, group, family; of various types (behavioral cognitive, hypnotherapies), but the problem of alcoholism persists. I would like to know what substances are effective, apart from benzodiazepines, to remove alcohol dependencies. Thanks.
By James Daniels M.D.
Posted on 16/12/2019
I believe the best therapy is the combination of drug and self-help group. In fact, it is convenient to deal with detoxification through day hospital or short hospitalization with infusion therapies. There are also medical treatments to advise other than benzodiazepines, as a complement, but they must be monitored constantly by health professionals. ReVia is one of the efficient medications whose benefits have been proven with patient-years of safe use; however, the therapy has to be appointed by your doctor. It seems to me that you are determined anyway and I believe that sooner or later you will overcome your problem.
By Mark
Posted on 07/03/2020
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