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What Is Disulfiram

what is disulfiram

What Is Antabuse (Disulfiram)?

Antabuse 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. Antabuse causes unpleasant symptoms when even small amounts of alcohol are consumed. People should be made aware of this when they are prescribed Antabuse. These effects typically begin about 10 minutes after alcohol enters the body, and they last for about an hour.

Antabuse Warnings

Antabuse contains a black-box warning because the drug should never be given to someone without that person's knowledge. Combining Antabuse with alcohol -such as by taking it while already drunk — can cause a fatal reaction. Don't take Antabuse 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.

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flushing of the face
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty breathing, or choking

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


Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially those listed in the Antabuse 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


Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully when taking this medicine. Don't take more or less Antabuse than your doctor recommends. If you can't swallow the Antabuse tablets, you can crush them and mix with water, tea, coffee, milk, juice, or a soft drink. Your doctor may recommend that a family member or other caregiver administer your dose of Antabuse. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions.

Missed Dose of Antabuse

If you miss a dose of Antabuse, take it as soon as you remember. But if it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular medication schedule. Don’t take extra Antabuse to make up for a missed dose.

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