Disulfiram (sold under the trade names Antabuse and Antabus) is a drug used to support the treatment of chronic alcoholism by producing an acute sensitivity to ethanol (drinking alcohol). Disulfiram works by inhibiting the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which means that many of the effects of a "hangover" are felt immediately after alcohol is consumed. "Disulfiram plus alcohol, even small amounts, produce flushing, throbbing in head and neck, throbbing headache, respiratory difficulty, nausea, copious vomiting, sweating, thirst, chest pain, palpitation, dyspnea, hyperventilation, tachycardia, hypotension, syncope, marked uneasiness, weakness, vertigo, blurred vision, and confusion. In severe reactions there may be respiratory depression, cardiovascular collapse, arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, acute congestive heart failure, unconsciousness, convulsions, and death." In the body, alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde, which is then broken down by acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. If the dehydrogenase enzyme is inhibited, acetaldehyde builds up and causes unpleasant effects. Disulfiram should be used in conjunction with counseling and support. Disulfiram has been studied as a possible treatment for cancer Under normal metabolism, alcohol is broken down in the liver by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase to acetaldehyde, which is then converted by the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase to a harmless acetic acid derivative (acetyl coenzyme A). Disulfiram (Antabuse) is perhaps the most widely used treatment for alcoholism in Finland. Normally, ethanol is converted into acetaldehyde and then acetic acid before being excreted from the body. Disulfiram prevents the oxidation process, causing acetaldehyde build-up. The reaction is often extremely pronounced, making alcohol consumption almost impossible. Even in small quantities, acetaldehyde is known to cause nausea, vomiting (including damage to the oesophagus), a burning sensation on the skin, flushing and shortness of breath, also known as a disulfiram or Antabuse reaction. Disulfiram is therefore acts as a deterrent against further drinking, as it does not alleviate the craving for alcohol itself. Disulfiram also has other effects, including inhibiting noradrenalin production. Dosage Disulfiram treatment can be commenced when the patient is no longer under the influence of alcohol. No alcohol should have been consumed in the 12-hour period preceding treatment.
Other Names Antabuse, DSF, tetraethylthiuram disulfide Drug Class Latency-Reversing Agents. Molecular Formula C10 H20 N2 S4. Registry Number 97-77-8. Nov 27, 2013. Temposil® has a shorter half life than Antabuse and usually reaches a sufficient level within 12 to 24 hours of starting use. Because these.