For nearly 50 years, Antabuse was THE preferred medication prescribed to combat chronic alcohol abuse. Even now that newer drugs like acamprosate and Naloxone have been developed, Antabuse—also known as disulfiram—remains perhaps a good option when total abstinence from alcohol is the only acceptable goal.
Antabuse works by causing a severely-unpleasant physical reaction when the person drinks. Within just a few minutes of consuming any alcohol, a person taking the once-daily medication begins to suffer symptoms resembling the worst hangover ever – extreme nausea, severe vomiting, throbbing headache, etc.
However, because ANY exposure to alcohol – even accidental – can trigger this reaction, Antabuse patients have to make lifestyle changes that have nothing whatsoever to do with drinking. There are potentially THOUSANDS of products —foods, drinks, medicines, personal hygiene items, cleaners—that you have to avoid if you are taking Antabuse. This includes many:
- OTC Cough Syrups/Cold Medicines
- Antibacterial Soaps/Hand Sanitizers
- Deodorant Sprays
- Rubbing Alcohol/Backrub Products
- Laxatives/Anti-Diarrheals/Stomach Pain Relievers
- Cold Sore/Toothache Medicines
- Inhalers for Asthma
- HIV Protease Inhibitors
- Chewing Tobaccos
- Cleaning Products
- Air Fresheners
- Windshield Wiper Fluid
- Insect Repellent
Additionally, many of the foods and drinks you consume contain hidden alcohol:
- “Sugar Free” Gums
- “Non-alcoholic” Beers and Wines
- Candies – it is legal for people under 21 to buy candies with up to .5% alcohol
- Barbecue Sauces
- Vinegar/Barbecue/Hot Sauce
- Extracts—Vanilla, Lemon, Almond, etc.
- Ripe Fruits
- Energy Drinks and Bars
- Salad Dressings
- Many Specific Dishes – Chicken Piccata, Veal Marsala, Beef Bourguignon, Spaghetti Sauce, Cherries Jubilee, Guinness Stew, Steak Diane, Fruitcake, etc.
How could this play out in reality?
This means someone taking Antabuse could brush their teeth, use mouthwash, put on deodorant and perfume, and then go to a party and eat barbecue and a piece of birthday cake, and then get violently ill. There might be enough alcohol contained in these innocent products to induce a strong Antabuse reaction.
Frustration at such lifestyle restrictions are why up to 80% of Antabuse patients are noncompliant.
Lasting Recovery outpatient alcohol rehab in San Diego utilizes multiple evidence-based treatment strategies to help you overcome your addiction to alcohol, including finding the anti-craving medication that is right for you.
If you need help for your problem drinking, contact Lasting Recovery today.