Antabuse against alcoholism
Medical treatment of alcohol abuse
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What is antabuse?
Antabuse is a drug that was found to be effective in treating alcohol abuse in the 1940s. The preparation contains disulfiram, which prevents alcohol from being broken down in the liver.
How does antabuse work?
If you have taken antabuse and drink alcohol at the same time, the concentration of acetaldehyde in your blood increases, which causes a “hangover”.
When the concentration of the drug increases, it can trigger headaches, facial flushing, anxiety, dizziness, increased blood pressure, rapid heart rate, nausea, vomiting and vomiting sensations. In the worst case, you may risk collapse or death. This reaction can lead many alcoholics to give up the urge to drink.
Many people use antabuse intermittently as an extra safety net in high-risk situations. A high-risk situation may be a family party or an event where the alcoholic has previously had too much to drink.
Side effects of antabuse
The idea of prescribing antabuse is to risk the consequences of drinking if one has ingested the drug, this could help the alcohol abuser not to drink alcohol.
Unfortunately, in practice it has often been found that the urge to drink can be so strong that the addict drinks alcohol anyway, and that drinking on antabuse causes serious side effects. Overdosage of the preparation may cause psychosis, hallucinations and anxiety attacks. Therefore, antabuse should always be prescribed by a doctor after you have been examined.
Antabuse has limited effect
Many studies have shown that antabuse has a very limited effect. Antabuse is no longer the type of medication professionals recommend for treating alcohol dependence. Most doctors recommend other types of alcohol medication instead, such as acamprocate, which has been shown to have a better proven effect. However, antabuse is still requested by some of the residents at Alfa, and if they have experience that it can help them in a transition, we are of course happy to help.
Because there is uncertainty about whether antabuse has the desired effect and there is also a risk of serious side effects if the patient drinks alcohol with antabuse in the body, the preparation should only be offered after careful consideration.
How antabuse treatment works as part of Alfa’s 24-hour treatment
If our doctor thinks that antabuse or other alcohol medication should be part of addiction treatment, the doctor prescribes it to the patient. Medical treatment can be part of the 24-hour treatment at Alfa-Fredensborg.
Dosage of antabuse
Typically, treatment is started with a dose of 800 mg in pill form for the first 2-3 days, after which the dose is reduced to 200 mg daily or 400-800 mg twice a week.
How long does antabuse work?
Alcohol should not be consumed for 1-2 weeks after starting treatment due to the long half-life of the preparation. If you have alcohol in your blood you will have an allergic reaction and feel discomfort.
Alcoholism treatment offered by Alfa
The National Board of Health recommends that medical alcohol treatment never stands alone, but that medical addiction treatment is always complemented by social addiction treatment.
At Alfa-Fredensborg, we only use antabuse in conjunction with talk therapy.
The relapse prevention treatment will help you to resist the urge to drink and thus avoid antabuse altogether.
Get effective help for alcohol dependence
Are you wondering if you have a problem with alcohol, or are you a relative of an addict?
At Alfa-Fredensborg you will always get help from a professional alcohol counsellor.
Alcoholism can lead to many different diseases, both physical and psychological, and it has serious social consequences.
Excessive alcohol consumption will lead to alcohol dependence. It will often require professional alcohol help to get well again.
▶ Alcohol dependence
▶ Alcohol treatment
▶ How to help an alcoholic?
▶ Alcohol withdrawal