Antabuse: method of application, description, reviews.

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Antabuse is a remedy used to combat alcoholism. Available in tablet and gel form. In the first case, the medicine will have to be taken daily during the course prescribed by the narcologist. In the second, coding is performed once (injected intramuscularly and lasts from 3 months to 3 years).

Composition of the preparation

At the heart of Antabus is disulfiram, which blocks the liver enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which is involved in the metabolism of ethyl alcohol. This is useful for treating and preventing the development of relapses in chronic alcoholism: toxins from alcoholic beverages linger longer in the body and cause intense symptoms of alcohol poisoning, do not allow an alcoholic to experience euphoria from intoxication. Such a reaction when drinking alcohol while taking is called a disulfiram-ethanol reaction. Its purpose is to develop a conditioned reflex reaction of aversion to the taste and smell of alcohol.

Forms of release and packaging

The first type of drug is white round flat tablets. They are marked: the letters “CD” on the surface mean that the product contains 200 mg of disulfiram, “CJ” – 400 mg of the active substance. Sold in plastic bottles of 50 or 100.

Antabuse in the form of a gel is used for intramuscular injection under the patient’s scapula. The active substance will remain in the human blood until the end of the period for which the patient is stitched. For example, for coding for six months, 1300 mg of a gel preparation is administered in the clinic.

Important: the tablets are easier to tolerate and, if necessary, you can stop taking them immediately. Minus – you need to drink them every day 1-2 times. Non-compliance with the regimen reduces the effectiveness of protection against alcoholism. The gel is sewn in once for a long time, but if it is necessary for the disulfiram to stop acting, you will have to go to the clinic for surgical removal of the gel implant.

Pharmachologic effect

In the blood, Antabuse binds to acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and inhibits it. If, in an uncoded person, this enzyme causes the decomposition of ethanol to carbon dioxide and water, then in a patient with a hemlock there is an accumulation of acetaldehyde, which is a tissue poison. Because of it, acute intoxication develops with symptoms such as arterial pressure failures, nausea, vomiting, weakness, tachycardia.

The condition arising from the combination of Antabus with alcohol taken is not limited to simple indisposition. It poses a threat to the patient’s life – for example, a sudden surge in pressure can provoke a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, coding is an extreme measure and should be used when safer methods of fighting alcoholism do not work.

Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics

Disulfiram from the tablet form of Antabus begins to act after more than 70% of the drug penetrates from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream. On average, the effect appears within 20-30 minutes after taking the drug. The splitting of substances from one tablet taken takes 8-12 hours, after which the drug must be taken again. The active substance is converted into diethylamine (it is excreted from the body in urine and feces) and carbon sulfide (this compound is removed through exhaled air.

The gel preparation begins to act in a couple of minutes after entering the body. An important feature is that it is a slowly metabolized form and, after administration, is retained in tissues for a period from 3 months to 2 years. During this time, the Antabuse implant will release a small amount of disulfiram into the blood every day, which is necessary for the constant maintenance of the coding effect.

Indications for use

Antabuse is used for the treatment of alcoholism of the 2nd and 3rd stages. In the early stages, coding is rarely done, as safer drugs often help to cope with alcohol dependence. At the last stage, tablets and implants with disulfiram are used carefully – the alcoholic’s body is weakened, the work of internal organs is impaired, and such a strong drug can provoke exacerbations and complications of diseases that have developed due to alcohol. First, a long treatment is required, the normalization of a person’s condition, and only after that, as prescribed by doctors, coding can be carried out.


Antabuse is prohibited in case of hypersensitivity to disulfiram – it manifests itself in a sharp decrease in blood pressure, vomiting, nausea, loss of consciousness, skin rash, edema (symptoms occur without drinking alcohol). If the patient develops signs of allergies, the doctors give him antihistamines, do a gastric lavage (if the tablet is taken), or remove the installed implant. Other contraindications:

  • thyrotoxicosis; diabetes;
  • a stomach or intestinal ulcer (contraindications for tablets); malignant tumors;
  • pathology of the central nervous system.

In case of violations of the cardiovascular system, the agent is used carefully. It is allowed to use it for a long-term chronic stage with constant monitoring of the state of the heart rate. In the stage of acute decompensation, coding is strictly prohibited.

Mode of application

The dosage of tablets or gel is determined by the doctor based on a large amount of information: gender, weight of the patient, stage of alcoholism, the presence of concomitant diseases. The daily dose for tablets can range from 200 to 500 mg. The drug in this form is dissolved in half a glass of warm water (the daily dose can be divided into two doses).

After 2–3 weeks of the course, the doctor may lower the dose of the drug taken to 100–200 mg. In such a supportive mode, you can drink pills constantly until the patient is sure that he is no longer attracted to alcohol, there is no longer any need for coding.

7-10 days after the start of the coding, a disulfiram-alcohol test is mandatory (the patient is given 20-30 ml of vodka to provoke Antabus’s reaction to alcohol). This is necessary to test the performance of the medication and consolidate the conditioned reflex of a person in the form of rejection to alcohol.

Important: you can start taking Antabuse tablets or place a gel implant only for people who do not have alcohol in their blood. The instructions for use clearly state that at least 3 days should pass from the moment of the last drinking.

Side effects

When combined with alcohol, Antabuse causes strong side effects, which is the purpose of using this drug. If a coded person drinks alcohol, then he will have:

  • Nausea, bitterness in the mouth, vomiting.
  • Diarrhea, abdominal pain.
  • A sharp increase or decrease in blood pressure, tachycardia.
  • Shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion.
  • Convulsions, tremors of the limbs.
  • Rash, redness of the skin.

Such reactions should stop a person from drinking alcoholism. If the patient, despite all the torment, continues to combine alcohol with Antabuse, then a serious threat to life may arise. It is dangerous to combine large doses of ethanol with the drug – when taking doses of pure alcohol over 50-80 ml, severe disorders of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems can develop.


Disulfiram is a strong substance and it is important to keep to the correct dosage. That is why self-medication with drugs like Antabus cannot be done, it is necessary that the doctor first conducts an examination and determines the exact dose. In case of an overdose, there is a critical decrease in blood pressure, cardiovascular collapse, heart rhythm disturbances, depression of consciousness up to coma. In this case, you need to immediately call an ambulance. The patient will be taken to the hospital, where emergency detoxification measures will be taken.

Drug interactions

When taking the course of Antabus, one should take into account its effect on various drugs. For example, a coding agent can neutralize the effect of bronchodilators or enhance the effect on the body of antidepressants, anti-asthma drugs, blood thinners.

Disulfiram is enhanced by interactions with drugs to lower cholesterol (eg, Fluvastatin and Rosuvastatin). A sharp jump in pressure occurs when combined with caffeine-containing agents. When combined with the antibiotic Isoniazid, stimulation of the central nervous system occurs, threatening nervous overexcitability.

Special instructions

Treatment with Antabus for women during pregnancy is strictly prohibited. Coding with this tool can provoke a miscarriage or the development of pathologies in the fetus. The drug is also contraindicated during lactation.

In childhood, alcoholism is not treated with Antabuse. The remedy has a limitation – it can only be given to patients over 18 years old. In old age, it can be coded, but only if there are no contraindications. Since people over 60 have age-related pressure failures, when using drugs with disulfiram, you need to constantly monitor your blood pressure.

Antabuse does not directly affect the ability to drive vehicles. But the absence of an effect on the concentration will be only if there are no side reactions that arise with hypersensitivity to the drug or the combination of the drug with alcohol.

In case of impaired renal function, Antabuse is completely prohibited. But in case of impaired liver function, the agent can be used, but carefully – if signs of complications appear, immediately stop the course of pills or remove the installed implant.

Storage period and conditions

Keep the medicine in an airtight container at a temperature not exceeding +30 ° C. The medicine can be consumed within 5 years from the date of manufacture indicated on the package. After the expiration date, the product must be disposed of – it is not suitable for use in the treatment of alcoholism, since, due to the oxidation of active substances, it can provoke acute poisoning. Store the drug at home out of the reach of children.

Important: Antabuse is a potent remedy that is taken strictly as prescribed by doctors in the exact dosage. You cannot prescribe it yourself, since the dosage, mode of administration and the duration of the course are determined individually, after a clinical examination and analyzes.


Antabuse pills did not help. When combined with vodka, they really make you feel as if you are about to die. But it’s enough just to forget to drink them for a couple of weeks and that’s it – hello to hard drinking again. Was sewn up a month ago. I won’t be able to cheat with the implant, so I really hope it will help me to become a normal person who does not depend on the bottle. “

Sophia, 34 years old

“Thanks Antabuse. I don’t drink for a year. Such a tie is hard, you need to really want to be free from alcohol yourself. Otherwise, everything is in vain – no coding will help. “

Zhenya, 40 years old

“When I just started the Antabus course, I decided that its effect only applies to strong drinks, so I immediately drank a bottle of beer. Half an hour passed and I started to turn out so, as if I gulped a bottle of moonshine in one gulp. For three days he was a living corpse – he could not get out of bed, he was shaking everything, he wrote for himself. I’m even afraid to imagine what would have happened to me if I drank vodka. I don’t want to check something ”.

Igor, 29 years old

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