Disulfiram (By mouth)
Used as part of a treatment plan for problem drinking. Creates an unpleasant reaction when drinking alcohol, which reduces the desire to drink. This medicine is part of a recovery program that includes medical supervision and counseling.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to disulfiram or to thiuram chemicals used in pesticides and rubber manufacturing. You should not use disulfiram if you have recently used metronidazole (Flagyl®) or paraldehyde (Paral®), or if you have severe heart disease or mental illness. Do not start taking disulfiram for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol or swallowing any product that contains alcohol (such as cough or cold medicines, tonics, mouthwash, food sauces, vinegar, etc).
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to take and how often. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Take your medicine in the morning unless your doctor tells you otherwise. If this medicine makes you sleepy, you may take it at bedtime.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, take it as soon as you can. If you are more than 12 hours late, wait until it is time for your next dose to take the medicine and skip the missed dose.
- Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in its original container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL WHILE YOU ARE USING THIS MEDICINE. EVEN SMALL AMOUNTS OF ALCOHOL CAN PRODUCE REACTIONS, WHICH CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using blood thinners (Coumadin®), isoniazid (Rifamate®, Rifater®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), fosphenytoin (Cerebyx®), mephenytoin (Mesantoin®), or any medicines that make you sleepy (such as sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain killers, or sedatives).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid problems, or mental illness, or if you are allergic to rubber or latex.
- If you consume alcohol while using disulfiram, you will have a reaction that can include: throbbing pain in the head and neck, trouble breathing, nausea and vomiting, sweating, flushing, thirst, chest pain, a fast or pounding heartbeat, lightheadedness or fainting, weakness, blurred vision, confusion, or dizziness. This reaction can last for 30 minutes to several hours. The more alcohol you consume, the worse a reaction will be. A severe reaction can result in death.
- You may still have an alcohol reaction if you consume alcohol for up to 2 weeks after you stop taking disulfiram.
- Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You should carry an identification card or wear a medical alert bracelet to let others know you are taking disulfiram.
- Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
- This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet
- Severe stomach pain, especially in the upper abdomen
- Skin rash or itching
- Yellow eyes or skin
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Problems having sex
- Tiredness or drowsiness
- Unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013
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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013