Alcoholism, or professionally speaking, alcohol use disorder is an occurrence when a person consumes excessive amounts of alcohol. They may drink regularly or be unable to control how much they drink. The person who suffers from an alcohol use disorder may develop a physical dependency after long-time drinking when sobriety becomes physically uncomfortable for them. This is called abstinence syndrome.
Battling alcohol addiction is a long and hard process that includes:
- Recognizing the existence of the problem;
- Avoiding alcohol;
- Dealing with health consequences of alcohol abuse;
- Overcoming a psychological need to drink.
The treatment program may include inpatient (staying at the hospital) and outpatient (no hospitalization) treatment, counseling, and visiting a support group. As for the pharmaceutical approach, there are medications that help overcome craving spirit beverages. One of them is Antabuse.
You cannot buy Antabuse pills over the counter: it requires a doctor’s prescription and it should be used consciously and responsibly. We prepared this review to provide comprehensive information about the drug.
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Where to Buy Antabuse?
What is Antabuse
Antabuse is a trade name for disulfiram, a compound classified as an alcohol antagonist.
Approved Uses of Antabuse
FDA approved disulfiram in 1951 for the treatment of alcohol use disorder. However, it is not a cure for the condition as is but rather a supportive measure to help the patient remain in sobriety.
You cannot order Antabuse over the counter. A healthcare provider should issue a prescription. The medication comes in the form of oral (to be taken by mouth) tablets that contain 250 mg or 500 mg of an active ingredient, disulfiram.
Antabuse may be taken only at least 12 hours after the last intake of alcohol. The initial dosage is 500 mg, usually administered in the morning. After a week or two, depending on the patient’s progress, the doctor can decrease the dose to 250 mg. From here, the patient is monitored, and their daily dose may vary from 125 mg to 500 mg (but never more than that).
Mechanism of Action
When the person consumes alcohol, it is metabolized into acetaldehyde—a toxic substance that, among other negative effects, is responsible for hangovers. Normally, acetaldehyde is further processed and decomposed into a harmless acetic acid.
Disulfiram inhibits an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase which our body needs to metabolize acetaldehyde. As a result, it accumulates 5 to 10 times faster than with alcohol consumption alone, causing a very complex of symptoms.
The interaction between Antabuse and alcohol begins about 10 minutes after the medicated person drinks. It may result in:
- Face flushing;
- Throbbing pain in the head and neck;
- Pain in the chest and heart palpitations;
- Loss of consciousness;
- Blurred vision;
- Dizziness and weakness.
Severe reactions can cause:
- Respiratory depression;
- Cardiovascular collapse;
- Myocardial infarction;
- Acute congestive heart failure;
Deterring Alcohol Consumption
The patient who is taking Antabuse knows they cannot drink because otherwise, they will experience the disulfiram-alcohol reaction that makes them very ill. This serves as an aid in abstinence ensuring that the person will not break their sobriety.
- Simultaneous use of disulfiram with Phenytoin can lead to Phenytoin intoxication. The patient should be monitored and the dosage of both drugs adjusted if needed.
- Disulfiram affects prothrombin time, so it should be used with caution in patients who take anticoagulants.
- In patients who take isoniazid, disulfiram may alter mental status or cause unstable gait. If this occurs, disulfiram therapy has to be discontinued.
- Disulfiram is incompatible with other drugs that cause disulfiram-like reactions, such as metronidazole.
- Because disulfiram interacts with alcohol, it cannot be used in parallel with alcohol-containing medications, such as herbal tinctures or cough syrups.
Antabuse should be used only by a person who is fully aware of the effect it has in combination with alcohol and willfully uses the medication to avoid drinking. It is recommended they have a card stating that they are taking a disulfiram drug, having a description of its interaction with alcohol, and contact information of their healthcare provider in case they will need immediate medical attention.
While on Antabuse therapy, the person should also refrain from foods and non-spirit drinks that can contain alcohol or its traces. This includes:
- Cartain sauces;
- Extracts and flavorings;
Antabuse Side Effects
Even when the person is sober disulfiram can cause adverse reactions that include:
- Skin reactions (can be managed with antiallergic drugs);
- Fast tiredness;
- Erectile dysfunction;
- Garlic-like or metal taste in the mouth.
More serious health issues that may manifest after the start of disulfiram therapy:
- Liver failure;
- Optic neuritis;
- Peripheral neuritis;
- Peripheral neuropathy.
This is why disulfiram is not OTC: the patient has to be examined by a doctor before they issue a prescription. If the patient has an ongoing condition that may get worse due to disulfiram intake, the medicine should not be used.
Can I get Antabuse over the counter?
You cannot buy evidence-based medication to stop drinking over the counter. However, you can easily order other medications and supplements that help improve the patient’s condition and alleviate abstinence syndrome. Some examples of them:
- Iron against fatigue;
- Magnesium to improve sleep and mental health;
- B group vitamins, such as thiamine, to improve the health of the nervous system;
- Omega 3 for the heart and brain heart;
- Milk thistle capsules for liver;
As always, we advise you to consult your doctor before starting taking any supplement, especially if you are on a treatment program.
If you need OTC Antabuse, e.g. do not want to take a trip to the provider’s office, you can consult a doctor who practices telemedicine and ask if they can issue you a virtual prescription. If it is possible you can order the medication in an online pharmacy of your choice without any trouble.
Antabuse is a drug that contains disulfiram. This compound increases alcohol toxicity upon drinking, thus urging the patient to remain sober. The treatment works best when combined with therapy and other means aimed to eliminate the desire to have a drink. If the person is unmotivated to quit, single therapy with Antabuse will likely fail.
Is Antabuse available over the counter?
No, you cannot legally buy disulfiram over the counter.
Is there a pill to stop drinking?
There are medications that make the person feel unwell when they drink, driving them away from alcohol. However, this treatment only works when the patient is motivated to quit and is in therapy.
What drugs are similar to disulfiram?
There are two other FDA-approved medications to treat alcohol use disorders: naltrexone and acamprosate.
Is there a generic for Antabuse?
Yes, Antabuse contains disulfiram, so its generics are the drugs that contain it.