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Antabuse

Antabuse is a drug for the treatment of alcoholism by the method of sensitization, i.e., increase of sensitivity to alcohol and its intolerance. In the process of therapy with this drug, the alcohol addiction gets suppressed, and its consumption becomes physically unsuitable, even unbearable. It is a very effective drug for the treatment of alcoholism, successfully used by many narcologists and hospitals until now.

Getting into the body, Disulfiram blocks a certain enzyme, produced by liver, which promotes a final dissolution of alcohol in the body. Suppressing the production of this enzyme in the liver, it stops the process of dissolution ethanol to carbon dioxide and water, at the stage of acetic acetaldehyde, which is a tissue poison. The increased amount of acetaldehyde in the body of the person, taking alcohol while using Antabuse, leads to an acute intoxication, which causes unpleasant and painful feelings. You feel tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, noise in your head, fear, chills, etc. The use of high doses of alcohol can develop severe reaction- sudden paleness of skin, sickness, repeated vomiting, elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, signs of ischemia myocardium. Such reaction to a simultaneous use of alcohol and Disulfiram is called disulfiram-ethanol reaction. As a result, the patient develops an conditioned response of aversion to the taste and smell of ethanol.

Contraindications

Absolute:

  • severe diseases of cardiovascular system, hearing organs (cochlear neuritis) and eyes (glaucoma, optic neuritis);
  • bronchial asthma, lung emphysema;
  • pulmonary tuberculosis;
  • severe liver failure;
  • diseases of haematogenous organs;
  • diabetes;
  • thyrotoxicosis;
  • epilepsy and convulsive syndrome of any genesis;
  • mental illnesses;
  • acute ulcer;
  • kidney diseases;
  • malignant tumours;
  • polyneuritis of any etiology;
  • pregnancy;
  • lactation;
  • heightened individual sensitivity to the drug.

Relative:

  • cardiovascular diseases at the stage of compensation;
  • old age (over 60);
  • stomach ulcer and duodenal ulcer in remission;
  • residual effects from the brain circulation dysfunctions;
  • earlier suffered disulfiram psychosis (antabuse) psychosis;

Side effects

Caused by the properties of Disulfiram:

  • metallic taste in the mouth;
  • bad smell in the patients with colostomy (related to carbon sulfide);
  • rare cases of hepatitis (similar to those that can happen in the patients with nickel eczema, who don’t suffer from alcoholism);
  • polyneuritis of lower limbs, optic neuritis;
  • memory loss, confusion, asthenia;
  • headache;
  • skin allergic reactions.

Special instructions

The patients should be warned of the danger of reaction of alcohol intolerance. In case of simultaneous use of the oral anticoagulants, you should exercise more frequent control of the content of prothrombin and correction of dosage of anticoagulants, due to increased risk of bleeding.

Antabuse must be taken cautiously by the patients with kidney failure or hypothyroidism, especially if there is a risk of possible mixing with alcohol.

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