Detoxing with Disulfiram

Disulfiram is meant to stop alcoholics from drinking. It works by physically blocking the alcohol from breaking down, which can result in uncomfortable side effects when the user drinks alcohol of any amount.

You should refrain from using Disulfiram if:

  • You have allergies to any ingredients that are in the drug
  • You are or have been drinking around the time you take the drug
  • You have from heart disease, a clogged artery, or a mental disorder
  • You are currently using metronidazole or a medicine that may contain alcohol

Before you use disulfiram

Depending on other drugs you might be taking, disulfiram can sometimes interact with them unexpectedly. Before taking disulfiram, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medical conditions you may have, especially if any of these apply to you are:

  • Expecting to be pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding
  • Taking any other medication, dietary supplements or herbal preparations
  • If you have any allergies to medication, food, or other substances
  • If you have had any brain damage done, diabetes, heart or lung disease, or mental or mood problems, an underactive thyroid, suffer from seizures or have liver or kidney problems

There are medicines that may alter the effects of the drug disulfiram. If you are using any medication, it is extremely important that you tell your health care provider especially if any contain the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Anticoagulants, benzodiazepines, isoniazid, or phenytoin because of negative side effects that may pop up when combined with disulfiram.

This list may not be complete, so it’s very important that you speak to your healthcare provider before taking disulfiram.

How disulfiram is recommended for use

Disulfiram should be used depending on doctor’s direction. It is important to look at the label on the medication for instructions on exactly how it should be taken.

  • Certain types can be taken with food or without
  • Some can be swallowed whole, chewed, or crushed and mixed with food.
  • Do not take the very first dose within 12 hours of taking any amount of alcohol.
  • If you miss a dose of the drug, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time to take the next prescribed dose, then don’t take the previous dose as it is important to only have a certain amount in your system at any one time. Do not take two doses at once.

Important safety information:

  • Disulfiram may cause side effects like drowsiness. Users should not drive or operate machinery until you know exactly how it will affect you. Using this drug along with other medication, on its own, or with alcohol could decrease your ability to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • It is important to avoid all forms of alcohol including alcohol that could be included in food, ingredients, hygiene products or anything else. Reactions to alcohol can include vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, chest pain, flushing, increased heart rate and confusion. It is important to read the ingredients of everything that you eat and drink so as to not trigger the negative effects of the medication on accident. These effects tend to linger for as long as two weeks after the last dose of medication was taken.
  • If you notice any yellowing of the eyes or skin, weakness, dark urine, tiredness, nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite, it is important to notify your doctor right away.
  • When you are taking this drug, it is highly recommended that you carry identification always.
  • A variety of lab tests such as liver function tests and complete blood cell count might be necessary in order to monitor the patient and make sure there aren’t any undiscovered side effects. It is important to attend any and all doctor appointments.
  • Use of disulfiram should be monitored extremely closely with children as the overall safety and effectiveness of this drug have not been completely confirmed yet.
  • If you are or may become pregnant or are currently breastfeeding, you should discuss using the drug with your doctor first. Do not breastfeed while taking disulfiram.

Potential side effects of using Disulfiram:

Although side effects come with virtually all types of medication, most of the people who take disulfiram don’t report experiencing any side effects. Ask your healthcare provider if you begin to experience any of these common side effects:

  • Drowsiness, headache, or taste of metal or garlic in the mouth.

If any of these severe side effects are felt, seek medical attention right away:

  • Strong allergic reactions (rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in chest, swelling of face, lips, mouth or tongue), blurred vision, changes in the colors you see, dark urine, loss of appetite, mood or mental problems, nausea, numb and/or tingling legs or arms, seizures, tiredness, vomiting, weakness and yellowing of skin or eyes.

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