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Disulfiram Side Effects

Disulfiram Side Effects

Disulfiram is an interesting substance. It is used in cases of alcoholism to deter people from continuing to drink. While it is not a cure, it can be an especially useful tool in discouraging cravings for alcohol. It does so by producing various extremely unpleasant sensations for the user. Although its usage has declined in popularity over the years, it is still worth understanding the associated adverse sensations. This is why Banyan Treatment Center Delaware goes over disulfiram side effects and exactly how this drug works. 

What Is Disulfiram? 

Disulfiram, the Antabuse generic name, is a drug used to treat people struggling with an alcohol use disorder. It is available as a tablet and should be taken once a day if prescribed. Before taking this drug, it is crucial to discuss several factors with your doctor, such as: 

  • If you are allergic to disulfiram 
  • If you have any kind of heart/blood vessel disease 
  • Brain conditions like seizures or other damage 
  • A diagnosis of hypothyroidism 
  • Being diabetic 
  • Liver or kidney disease 
  • Family history of substance abuse or addiction 

The most important thing to remember is not to drink alcohol while using disulfiram. Considering that this is the primary usage of the drug, doing so can quickly become an unpleasant or flat-out dangerous experience for the user. 

How Does Disulfiram Work? 

Disulfiram operates by interfering with how the body metabolizes alcohol, resulting in unpleasant sensations for the user. These reactions are intended to act as a deterrent for drinking, especially for those who struggle to break away from alcoholism on their own.  

The resulting disulfiram side effects can range in severity and may include: 

  • Chest pain 
  • Feelings of confusion 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Heightened body temperature 
  • Sweating 
  • Severe thirst 
  • An overall feeling of weakness 
  • A sped-up heart rate 
  • Lightheadedness 

There are certain reactions to mixing disulfiram and alcohol that can be life-threatening, such as: 

  • Swelling of the mouth, throat, or tongue 
  • Strained breathing 
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Fainting 
  • Seizures 

It can be hard to watch a loved one struggle to control their drinking. However, giving them a substance without their knowledge is a serious breach of bodily consent and can have devastating consequences. Not getting the appropriate medical attention in these cases can be life-threatening. It is also why administering the drug to someone without their knowledge is never advised. 

Disulfiram should also not be given to someone who is currently intoxicated. It should only be used with the directions of a trained medical professional. While it may be a useful tool for someone who is motivated to overcome their addiction, it does not cure alcoholism on its own. That is where Banyan comes in. 

Our Delaware Rehab Center Can Help 

It is highly recommended that a person pursues professional alcohol addiction treatment, or it might result in the use of another substance. Luckily, our Milford rehab offers treatment for alcoholism that can aid a person in turning their life around for the better. For those battling addiction, our detox in Delaware also offers treatment to aid patients in navigating withdrawal symptoms of alcohol abuse, which can be dangerous to overcome on one’s own. 

To learn more about our other treatment options and levels of care available, call Banyan Delaware at 888-280-4763 today. 


Related Reading 

The Long-Term Effects of Alcohol 

How to Help an Alcoholic Friend 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Disulfiram Side Effects
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