Disulfiram patient leaflet

Disulfiram patient leaflet

Welcome to our patient leaflet on disulfiram!

Disulfiram is a medication used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder. It works by causing unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and flushing, when alcohol is consumed. This aversion therapy is designed to discourage patients from drinking alcohol by creating a negative association with its consumption.

How does disulfiram work?

Disulfiram interferes with the metabolism of alcohol, causing the build-up of acetaldehyde in the body. Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance that results from the breakdown of alcohol, and its accumulation produces uncomfortable symptoms. Disulfiram blocks the enzyme responsible for metabolizing acetaldehyde, leading to increased levels of this toxic substance.

Who can benefit from disulfiram treatment?

Disulfiram can be beneficial for individuals who have a strong desire to stop drinking but struggle to maintain sobriety. It is commonly prescribed as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes therapy and support groups. It is important to note that disulfiram is not a cure for alcohol use disorder, but it can be an effective tool to help patients stay sober.

"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of adhering to a code of complete abstinence while taking disulfiram. Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to severe and potentially dangerous reactions."

What are the possible side effects of disulfiram?

While disulfiram is generally safe when taken as prescribed, there are some potential side effects to be aware of. Common side effects include drowsiness, headache, and metallic or garlic-like taste in the mouth. In rare cases, more serious side effects such as liver damage, heart problems, and mental health changes may occur. It is important to discuss any concerns or unusual symptoms with your healthcare provider.


Disulfiram can be an effective tool in the treatment of alcohol use disorder when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. It is important for patients to understand how disulfiram works and the potential side effects associated with its use. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.

About Disulfiram

Disulfiram is a medication that is used to treat alcohol dependence. It works by causing unpleasant symptoms when alcohol is consumed. This helps to create a negative reinforcement for drinking alcohol, as the individual will experience nausea, flushing, and other uncomfortable side effects.

Mechanism of Action:

Disulfiram works by inhibiting the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, which is responsible for metabolizing alcohol in the body. When alcohol is consumed, it is normally broken down into acetaldehyde and then further metabolized into harmless substances. However, when disulfiram is present, it blocks the enzyme that metabolizes acetaldehyde, causing it to build up in the body. This leads to the accumulation of toxic levels of acetaldehyde, resulting in the unpleasant symptoms associated with disulfiram use.

Usage and Dosage:

Disulfiram is typically prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for alcohol dependence. It is taken orally once a day, usually in a dose of 250mg. It is important to take disulfiram exactly as prescribed by a healthcare professional, as it is a potent medication with potentially serious side effects.

Possible Side Effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushing and sweating
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Impotence and sexual dysfunction
  • Metallic or garlic-like taste in the mouth

It is important to note that consuming alcohol while taking disulfiram can lead to severe reactions, such as respiratory distress, cardiovascular complications, and even death. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid all forms of alcohol, including mouthwash and cooking extracts, while on disulfiram.


Disulfiram is a medication that is used to deter drinking in individuals with alcohol dependence. It works by causing unpleasant symptoms when alcohol is consumed, creating a negative reinforcement. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and avoid all forms of alcohol while taking disulfiram to avoid potentially severe reactions.

What is Disulfiram

Disulfiram is a medication that is primarily used to treat alcohol addiction. It is classified as an alcohol aversion therapy and works by causing unpleasant effects when alcohol is consumed. Disulfiram is available in tablet form and is taken orally.

How Does Disulfiram Work?

When disulfiram is taken, it inhibits the enzyme that is responsible for breaking down alcohol in the body. As a result, the breakdown of alcohol is slowed down and a toxic substance called acetaldehyde builds up. This buildup of acetaldehyde leads to a range of unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, and flushing.

What are the Benefits of Taking Disulfiram?

The main benefit of taking disulfiram is that it helps individuals with alcohol addiction stay sober. By causing unpleasant reactions when alcohol is consumed, disulfiram acts as a deterrent and can help patients stay motivated to avoid alcohol. Additionally, disulfiram can also be used to help individuals maintain abstinence after they have stopped drinking.

How is Disulfiram Taken?

Disulfiram is taken orally and is usually prescribed as a daily dose. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and take disulfiram exactly as instructed by a healthcare professional. It is also important to avoid any products that may contain alcohol while taking disulfiram, as this can lead to severe reactions.

How Disulfiram Works

Disulfiram, also known as Antabuse, works by interfering with the breakdown of alcohol in the body. Normally, when a person drinks alcohol, it is broken down by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase into acetaldehyde, a toxic substance. Acetaldehyde is then further broken down into acetic acid, which is harmless. However, when a person takes disulfiram, it inhibits the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase, preventing the breakdown of acetaldehyde.

This leads to a buildup of acetaldehyde in the body, which causes unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms can include flushing of the face, nausea, vomiting, headache, and increased heart rate. The purpose of these symptoms is to create a negative association with alcohol, discouraging the person from drinking.

It is important to note that disulfiram does not treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms or cravings. It is only effective when taken with the intention of abstaining from alcohol. The medication does not alter the effects of alcohol, but rather acts as a deterrent to drinking by causing discomfort when alcohol is consumed. It is often used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for individuals with alcohol addiction.

It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and instructions when taking disulfiram. Taking more than the recommended dose can lead to severe reactions, including respiratory distress, cardiovascular collapse, and even death. It is also important to inform healthcare providers of any other medications or substances being taken, as interactions can occur.

Overall, disulfiram works by creating an aversion to alcohol by causing unpleasant symptoms when consumed. It is not a cure for alcohol addiction, but can be a helpful tool in maintaining sobriety. Additionally, it is important for individuals taking disulfiram to have a strong support system and to participate in counseling or therapy to address the underlying issues related to their alcohol use disorder.

Uses of Disulfiram

Disulfiram is a medication that is primarily used to treat alcohol dependence. It works by inhibiting the metabolism of alcohol in the body, causing unpleasant symptoms when alcohol is consumed.

The main use of disulfiram is to help individuals who are addicted to alcohol maintain sobriety. When taken regularly, disulfiram can help deter individuals from drinking alcohol by making them feel sick when they consume it. This can be a helpful tool in the recovery process, as it provides a strong deterrent to relapse.

In addition to treating alcohol dependence, disulfiram has also been used to treat certain forms of addiction to other substances, such as cocaine. It has been found to be effective in reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with these addictions. However, disulfiram is primarily used for alcohol dependence and its efficacy in treating other addictions is still being studied.

Disulfiram is typically used in conjunction with other forms of treatment for alcohol and substance use disorders, such as counseling and support groups. It is not a stand-alone treatment and should be used as part of a comprehensive approach to recovery. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if disulfiram is an appropriate medication for your specific needs.

Possible Side Effects of Disulfiram

Allergic Reactions

Some patients may experience allergic reactions to disulfiram. These reactions can range from mild to severe and may include symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

Acute Hepatitis

In rare cases, disulfiram can cause acute hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver. Symptoms of acute hepatitis may include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain, and fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop taking disulfiram and consult your healthcare provider.

Neurological Effects

Disulfiram may cause neurological effects in some patients. These effects can include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, and confusion. If these symptoms become severe or persist, it is important to inform your healthcare provider.

Psychiatric Reactions

In rare cases, disulfiram can cause psychiatric reactions such as anxiety, depression, impulsive behavior, and psychosis. If you experience any changes in mood or behavior while taking disulfiram, inform your healthcare provider immediately.

Other Side Effects

Other possible side effects of disulfiram include fatigue, weakness, metallic or garlic-like taste in the mouth, and changes in sexual function. These side effects are generally mild and should subside over time. However, if they persist or worsen, contact your healthcare provider for further guidance.



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About the Author

April Graham
FFNATION founder and Bitcoin lover!

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