Considering that millions of Americans are afflicted with alcohol use disorder (AUD)–15 million in the U.S. alone–addiction specialists have zeroed in on medication assisted treatment options to help with initial recovery. As new medications become available, the question posed is, which are the most effective. One of the first medications introduced by the FDA in 1951 to address AUD was Antabuse. What is Antabuse? Many people looking for alcohol treatment for themselves or a loved one end up asking this question.
Antabuse refers to a prescription given to people suffering from alcohol addiction. The medication helps people quit drinking alcohol by causing an adverse reaction and unpleasant effects when drinking. However, the journey of disulfirearm was not originally intended to be used as an AUD medication assisted treatment. Let’s trace the journey of the rise of this prescription.
What is Antabuse?
Disulfiram, the active ingredient in Antabuse, has been shown to be effective in treating alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder. Fundamentally, the medication assists in deterring users from continuing use and helps to support patients in their effort to maintain sobriety. When ingesting alcohol after taking Antabuse, a user may experience:
- Headache, nausea, and vomiting
- Impaired vision and mental confusion
- Sweating, breathing difficulties, body weakness, and anxiety
How Does Antabuse Work?
When a person with AUD consumes alcohol, it gets converted to acetaldehyde, which then gets converted to acetic acid. Antabuse works to block this conversion, causing an upsurge of acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is toxic, and thus causes the person battling AUD to experience adverse effects. The feeling of illness and the symptoms caused by Antabuse can curb a person’s physical need to continue using alcohol, thereby effectively preventing them from drinking.
The medicine gets absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and filtered through the rest of the body. The medicine can stay in the body for up to two weeks. Because the body eliminates the medication very gradually, it can discourage drinking over longer periods of time.
Taking Antabuse frequently helps maintain the metabolic cycle and reduces the desire to drink alcohol. While it acts as a deterrent to drinking, it does not treat withdrawal symptoms of alcoholism. Using the medicine as part of alcohol addiction treatment has proven to be effective. Discouraging drinking prevents relapse during the crucial periods of early recovery.
Who Should Use Antabuse?
What is Antabuse and who are good candidates for this medication based treatment options. Precaution regarding Antabuse requires that it not be administered to people who have psychosis, a history of severe heart diseases, heart attacks, or strokes. Additionally, your provider will determine if you are allergic to Antabuse. Pregnant women should also not take Antabuse. Also, it is advisable to disclose to the doctor any other kind of medicine you are taking before treatment because some drugs contain traces of alcohols like paraldehyde and metronidazole that react with Antabuse.
As part of a program at an addiction rehab center, Antabuse reinforces therapies that help overcome alcohol addiction. Though Antabuse does not minimize the craving to consume alcohol or treat withdrawal symptoms, it offers excellent assistance to those suffering the onset of withdrawal and who are having difficulty resisting drinking. It effectively triggers a reaction that makes them quit drinking.
Is Antabuse effective?
This FDA approved medication is usually administered in pill-form on a daily basis. Unfortunately, if the medication is stopped, a person may succumb to impulses that trigger relapse. It’s critical that Colorado alcohol rehab centers address underlying mental health and continue to support an individual, especially in the early stages of recovery. Long-term recovery cannot be simplified to a simple medication that is prescribed for life. Instead, it requires a comprehensive approach that covers alcohol dependency, mental illness, environmental triggers, long-term strategy, integrating back into regular life, and ongoing support.
That said, Antabuse can be effective for individuals suffering from severe alcohol dependency. It can be used as a supportive method of help a person to overcome withdrawal and early recovery, which tends to be the most difficult stage. That said, Antabuse is much more widely used in Europe and research has indicated that long-term use is extremely effective in helping people stop drinking and produce abstinence rates of 50% or higher.
In short, Antabuse should be administered alongside comprehensive addiction treatment. Evidence-based therapies help target the roots of addiction. We supervise you and offer individualized treatment to ensure that you attain long-term sobriety free from addiction.
Finding Help at AspenRidge Colorado
Are you asking what is Antabuse? We’re happy to break it down for you and review if it’s a recovery option that’s right for your situation. At AspenRidge Recovery, we help with insurance verification and assist in alcohol addiction recovery to include medication assisted treatment. It might not be the only solution and we can help walk you through the best approach in your recovery journey. Talk to us today, and our professional therapists will take you through a rehabilitation program best suited for you to overcome alcohol addiction and trauma.