Antabuse

Pronunciation

Generic Name: disulfiram (die sul FER am)

What is Antabuse?

Antabuse (disulfiram) interferes with the metabolism of alcohol resulting in unpleasant effects when alcohol is consumed.

Antabuse is used to treat chronic alcoholism.

Antabuse may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Do not drink alcohol while taking Antabuse. Flushing, fast heartbeats, nausea, thirst, chest pain, vertigo, and low blood pressure may occur when alcohol is ingested during Antabuse therapy.

Do not take Antabuse for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol.

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Reactions may occur from drinking alcohol for several weeks after you have stopped taking Antabuse.

Be aware of the alcohol content of other common products such as cough and cold medicines, mouth washes, tonics, sauces, vinegars, and other food products. Alcohol in these products can also cause a reaction.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Antabuse?

Before taking Antabuse, tell your doctor if you have

  • liver disease,
  • kidney disease;
  • thyroid disease;

  • diabetes;

  • brain damage or mental disorders;

  • epilepsy or another seizure disorder.

You may not be able to take Antabuse, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during your therapy if you have any of these conditions.

Your doctor may want you to carry an identification card that states you are taking Antabuse. Ask your health care provider if you have any questions about this.

Disulfiram is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether Disulfiram will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Disulfiram passes into breast milk in small amounts and may affect a nursing baby. Do not take Antabuse without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Antabuse?

Take Antabuse exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. Store Antabuse at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Take the rest of the day's doses at evenly spaced intervals unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a Antabuse overdose include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, loss of coordination, numbness and tingling, and seizures.

What should I avoid?

Do not drink alcohol while taking Antabuse. Flushing, fast heartbeats, nausea, thirst, chest pain, vertigo, and low blood pressure may occur when alcohol is ingested during Antabuse therapy.

Do not take Antabuse for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol.

Reactions may occur from drinking alcohol for several weeks after you have stopped taking Antabuse.

Be aware of the alcohol content of other common products such as cough and cold medicines and food products. Alcohol in these products can also cause a reaction.

Tell your doctor (or dentist) that you are taking Antabuse before taking an antibiotic or before having surgery.

Do not come in contact or breathe the fumes of products that may contain alcohol including paint thinners, solvents, stains, lacquers and others. Use caution when applying or using products that may contain alcohol including aftershaves, mouthwashes, colognes, perfumes, antiseptics and others. Talk to your doctor or phaarmacist if you have questions regarding product alcohol content.

What are the possible side effects of Antabuse?

Severe and sometimes fatal liver problems have occurred in patients taking Antabuse even without a prior history of liver problems.

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking Antabuse and seek emergency medical attention:
  • an allergic reaction (swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; shortness of breath; closing of your throat; or hives);

  • seizures;

  • extreme tiredness;

  • dark urine;

  • yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice);

  • large appetite changes;

  • weakness, dizziness or loss of coordination; or

  • severe diarrhea or vomiting.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Antabuse and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • skin rash or acne;

  • mild headaches;

  • mild drowsiness or tiredness;

  • impotence;

  • metallic taste in the mouth; or

  • swollen or sore tongue.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Antabuse?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • isoniazid (Nydrazid);

  • a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), or tranylcypromine (Parnate);

  • a benzodiazepine such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), and others;
  • a tricyclic antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil), doxepin (Sinequan), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and others;

  • warfarin (Coumadin);

  • metronidazole (Flagyl);

  • theophylline (Theo-Dur);

  • phenytoin (Dilantin);

  • lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith, others).

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with Antabuse. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about Antabuse written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Disulfiram is available with a prescription under the brand name Antabuse. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.02. Revision Date: 4/12/2009 4:39:51 PM.
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