Antabuse is the drug which makes you sick when you drink alcohol. Antabuse works by blocking the metabolism of acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is a poisonous byproduct of alcohol metabolism which is normally eliminated from the body almost as quickly as it is produced. Antabuse blocks the action of the enzyme which breaks down acetaldehyde and allows it to build up in the body. If a person drinks alcohol after taking Antabuse it causes 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. The intensity of the reaction may vary with each individual but is generally proportional to the amount of disulfiram and alcohol ingested. Medication alone own cannot overcome an alcohol addiction. But medication in combination with other treatment such as counselling, self-help groups, developing recovery skills and relapse prevention techniques has be proven to increase the chances of overcoming alcoholism. There are three anti-alcohol drugs available: I will begin with Antabuse, since it is the most well studied. Important: This is general medical information, and is not tailored to the needs of a specific individual. It does not cover all possible precautions, side effects, or interactions. You should always consult your physician when making decisions about your health. And you should consult your physician before starting or stopping medication. I have no financial interest in any of these medications.
PubMed Citation Among 1164 patients with liver disease seen over a 10 year period, 77 6.6% were suspected cases of drug induced liver injury; disulfiram accounted for 2 cases 3%, ages 38 and 70 years, onset after 42- and 70 days, one jaundiced and both recovered. Liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice yellowing of the skin or eyes. Common Antabuse side effects may include