Antabuse Side Effects

What is Antabuse?

Disulfiram, commonly known by its brand name Antabuse, is a medication used to treat alcohol use disorders. If someone tries to consume alcohol while taking Disulfiram, this will produce unpleasant symptoms. Antabuse side effects are common though and can occur for a variety of reasons.

Using this medicine can help lessen the appeal of drinking for those struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction. Because of the potential side effects that may occur, you should call your doctor for medical advice before taking Antabuse.

Keep reading to find out more about taking Antabuse and effective ways of treating problem drinking and alcohol use disorders now!

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What is a Normal Dosage of Antabuse?

Dosage of Antabuse

When first using this medicine, a maximum dosage of 500 mg of Antabuse will be administered once daily. This will typically last over a period of one to two weeks. When maintaining this medication, the maximum recommended dose of Antabuse is 250 mg daily.

It is strongly advised to avoid alcohol and any alcohol-containing products. Such products may include any food or medicine product, such as cough medicine and cold syrups, mouthwash, certain fruits and yogurts, and antiseptic astringent skin products (i.e. rubbing alcohol).

You will need to tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications or are abusing other drugs before using Antabuse, as this can have unpredictable drug interactions and unwanted effects.

How Does Antabuse Medication Work?

Upon entering the body, alcohol is converted into acetaldehyde, which is then turned into acetic acid. Antabuse works by blocking this conversion of acetaldehyde to acetic acid, causing acetaldehyde levels in the body to significantly increase.

This Disulfiram-alcohol reaction is toxic and can cause the consumer to become severely ill. Antabuse is meant to be taken regularly in order to help maintain the metabolic cycle and subsequently reduce the user’s desire to drink alcohol.

If you are going to use alcohol while prescribed Disulfiram, the prescription label will recommend waiting at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol before taking this medication.

As discussed, it is essential that you tell your doctor or medical care provider all drugs you are taking in case these contain traces of alcohol. These may include:

  • Elavil
  • Coumadin
  • Flagyl
  • Dilantin
  • Any nonprescription drugs

How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?

While having one or two drinks every now and then won’t necessarily be much cause for concern, constantly having alcohol in the body over a long period of time is bound to create a number of health issues. This may include side effects such as:

  • Severe heart disease
  • Underactive thyroid
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced liver function
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Rapid weight gain

What Happens If You Drink Alcohol After Taking Antabuse?

What happens if you drink alcohol after taking antabuse

If someone uses an alcohol-containing product after taking Antabuse, they may experience a number of mild to severe symptoms. These unwanted effects occur within minutes after alcohol is consumed. More mild side effects can include:

  • A metallic or garlic-like taste in the mouth
  • Eye pain
  • Neck pain
  • Mild headache
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Tired feeling
  • Rare decreased sexual ability
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Combining alcohol with Antabuse may also cause more severe symptoms. These may include a number of very unpleasant side effects, such as:

  • Weakness
  • Severe vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Throbbing headache
  • Slow breathing
  • Mental confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperventilation
  • Chest pain
  • Tachycardia
  • Hypotension

In addition to these side effects, some people may also have an allergic reaction to Disulfiram, causing symptoms such as a skin rash and severe chest pain spreading through the upper body.

If you or someone else is experiencing these side effects after you have consumed alcohol and/or Antabuse, you will need to immediately call the poison control center or your local emergency medical help services.

FAQs on Antabuse Side Effects:

Can I Use Antabuse While I am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

While Disulfiram can be used while pregnant, it should only be taken as prescribed. Currently, there is no information on whether or not this drug passes into breast milk while breastfeeding.

It is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider in order to get medical advice about the side effects of drinking and pregnancy that may occur while breastfeeding and using Antabuse before taking this medication.

What Are Alternative Options To Taking Antabuse?

There are many alternative treatment options for alcohol abuse and addiction that you may want to consider before taking Antabuse. These include:

  • Taking other medications.
  • Seeking out professional treatment programs.
  • Seeking out therapy and other emotional support services.

Other Medications Used for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

There are multiple other medications that are used to treat alcohol use disorders. These may help reduce alcohol cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and otherwise assist in the recovery process. Treatment medications may include:

  • Antiadrenergic agents
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Antipsychotics
  • Benzodiazepines

Alcohol Detox and Rehab Programs

Once someone’s body has formed a dependency on alcohol, they will experience severe, and potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using this substance. Because of this, it is encouraged to gradually taper off of alcohol, rather than quit “cold turkey.”

When recovering through a medical detox facility, these programs can provide 24/7 supervision from a healthcare professional and the structure needed to safely withdraw from alcohol. These programs can give you your greatest chance at a safe and successful recovery from addiction.

There are also inpatient or residential treatment programs, which will require you to live at a rehab center throughout the duration of your recovery process. These alcohol rehab centers, like detox treatment programs, provide constant access to recovery tools and support.

Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, offers a more flexible and independent approach to helping you overcome an addiction to alcohol. These treatment programs will typically involve participation in sober support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Outpatient treatment may be a better option if you attempt to overcome a substance use disorder with unavoidable time or financial constraints. You can significantly benefit from the peer support and recovery resources these programs can provide.

Behavioral Therapy for Substance Abuse

Behavioral Therapy for Substance Abuse

Many alcohol rehab programs will incorporate mental health treatment services as a part of their recovery approach. This may include options such as individual counseling services, as well as group therapy or family therapy sessions.

This level of care addresses both your addiction and self-destructive behaviors head-on, as well as any underlying emotional causes of your habitual alcohol abuse.

These may also include specialized therapeutic treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy, or more holistic methods, such as equine or art therapy services.

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Find an Alcohol Detox in Your State Now

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction, this can be an incredibly painful and difficult situation to deal with. However, it is important to know that you are not alone, and help IS available.

At Find Addiction Rehabs, our hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to connect you with addiction treatment providers and alcohol rehab programs dedicated to serving all of your recovery care needs.

Our dedicated team of recovery representatives can help you any time of day (or night) you may need it. So don’t wait; call today, and let us help you get started on your recovery journey now!

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