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Disulfiram Effect

disulfiram effect


Disulfiram is the brand name of the prescription drug disulfiram, which is used to treat chronic alcoholism. The medicine blocks an enzyme that's involved in metabolizing alcohol. Disulfiram causes unpleasant symptoms when even small amounts of alcohol are consumed. People should be made aware of this when they are prescribed Disulfiram. These effects typically begin about 10 minutes after alcohol enters the body, and they last for about an hour. Disulfiram is meant to be used in combination with other forms of therapy, including behavior modification, counseling, and psychotherapy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved Disulfiram in 1951. It's currently manufactured (as generic disulfiram) by Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Disulfiram Warnings

Disulfiram contains a black-box warning because the drug should never be given to someone without that person's knowledge. Combining Disulfiram with alcohol such as by taking it while already drunk — can cause a fatal reaction. Don't take Disulfiram if you've consumed alcohol within the past 12 hours. Don't drink alcohol while taking the drug or for up to 14 days after you stop taking it.

  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain damage or a head injury
  • Mental illness
  • Heart disease
  • A heart attack or stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Allergies to medications

Pregnancy and Disulfiram

It's not known whether Disulfiram can harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you're pregnant, or might become pregnant, before taking this medicine. It's also not known whether the drug passes into breast milk or could hurt a breastfeeding baby. Don't breastfeed while taking Disulfiram without talking to your doctor first.

Disulfiram Side Effects

Tell your doctor if any of the symptoms listed in the Warnings section above, or any of the following side effects, become severe or don't go away:

  • Skin rash
  • Acne
  • Mild headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness
  • Metallic taste or garlic-like taste in mouth
  • Impotence or lack of interest in sex

Disulfiram Interactions

Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially those listed in the Disulfiram Warnings section above, and any of the following:

  • Any prescription or non-prescription drugs that might contain alcohol
  • Blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Elavil (amitriptyline)
  • Isoniazid
  • Vitamins

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