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Disulfiram 500mg

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Description

Disulfiram 500mg is a prescription medicine that’s available under multiple brand names. It is a psychosocial treatment that can help people to stop drinking, and is often prescribed as a way to treat alcoholism and excessive alcohol consumption. While Disulfiram does not directly cure alcoholism, it could help to notably reduce a person’s desire to drink.

How Disulfiram Works

Disulfiram is an active ingredient that makes the body more sensitive to alcohol. Under normal circumstances, the human body turns alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is then oxidised into acetic acid and flushed from the body. Disulfiram prevents this oxidation process from occurring, creating significant levels of acetaldehyde in the bloodstream. High levels can trigger the body’s Disulfiram-Alcohol Reaction, causing adverse effects.

Common symptoms of the Disulfiram-Alcohol Reaction include sweating, rapid breathing, blurred vision, excessive thirst, nausea and vomiting, vertigo, chest pain, and weakness. These effects usually occur within 10 to 30 minutes of drinking alcohol.

While Disulfiram itself does not treat alcoholism, the adverse effects of the medicine’s reaction with alcohol can make drinking a very unpleasant experience, helping to reduce the motivation to drink and encouraging patients to remain healthy and sober.

Disulfiram Uses

Disulfiram is often prescribed to treat:

  • Chronic alcohol dependence
  • Alcohol use disorders

Disulfiram Dosage

Disulfiram is usually prescribed in doses ranging from 200mg daily up to 500mg. It is important to take the medicine as advised by your prescribing doctor. Disulfiram should be taken by mouth, and can be taken with or without food. Disulfiram may be swallowed whole, but can also be crushed into tea, coffee, milk, or cold soft drinks.

Disulfiram Side Effects

Disulfiram is generally considered to be safe when taken as prescribed. However, as with many medications, some patients may experience mild side effects, including:

  • Skin conditions such as allergic dermatitis
  • Bad breath
  • Depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Reduced libido
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Psychotic disorders such as paranoia and mania
  • Nerve disorders

Side effects are more severe when drinking alcohol due to the reaction between alcohol and the medicine. Avoid alcohol to reduce the likelihood of side effects.

It is important for patients to read the patient information leaflet in the packaging for a full list of possible side effects from taking Disulfiram. Always consult with the prescribing doctor if side effects persist. If experiencing difficulty breathing, call 999 immediately.

References

  1. https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/disulfiram.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64036/

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