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How do you get Antabuse? How is Antabuse supplied?

You can get a prescription for Antabuse after a medical assessment and making a decision with your doctor. Antabuse is not for everyone. Learn more about how Antabuse is supplied here.

5
minute read

Antabuse is an alcohol deterrent medication that is used in the treatment of alcoholism. Its main ingredient, is disulfiram, which causes unpleasant effects when even small amounts of alcohol are consumed. However, Antabuse is not for everyone!

Continue reading here to learn more about the use, how is Antabuse supplied and who can prescribe it. If you have any questions after reading the text, we invite you to ask questions and share comments at the end of the page.

Why get a prescription for Antabuse?

Antabuse is effective in treating alcohol use disorders, especially when you receive adequate follow up and supplementary care. Antabuse is most effective for people who have undergone detoxification or are in the initiation stage of abstinence, especially when they are committed to abstinence. Disulfiram may not reduce the urge to drink alcohol. However, it may assist in motivating the patient not to drink. As with other medications, general efficacy also increases when disulfiram is administered in conjunction with intensive behavioral interventions.

Who prescribes Antabuse?

Medical doctors prescribe Antabuse. Keep in mind that there are some restrictions to using Antabuse. For example, Antabuse should never be used in a state of alcohol intoxication or without your full knowledge. Further Antabuse has no addiction liability. This means that is causes no euphoric effect, and cannot be used to get high.

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Getting Antabuse: Where to start?

There are a few recommended steps to follow as you seek a prescription for Antabuse. This is because Antabuse is not recommended for everyone. So, what are the steps to getting a prescription for Antabuse?

STEP 1: Learn about the drug and its effects.

Antabuse has some central nervous system effects. Specifically, the disulfiram found in Antabuse inhibits the enzyme “dopamine β-hydroxylase” and affects serotonergic function. In this way, it disrupts the metabolism of alcohol, causing a severe reaction when patients mix disulfiram and alcohol. So, get educated about how Antabuse works so that you can evaluate whether or not it’s a good choice for you.

STEP 2: See your doctor to discuss.

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Next, you’ll need to see your family doctor or an addiction specialist to talk about your interest in Antabuse. Disulfiram may be effective in the treatment of alcoholism when combined with psychosocial treatment. However, you’ll need to have an open discussion with a medical professional to talk about its side effects and efficacy rates.

Antabuse can help prevent drinking, but is most successful when you are committed to maintaining abstinence. Talk openly about your personal goals as they apply to drinking problems. It’s also important that you discuss your “end game” and lay out dosing periods that are realistic. When you agree to take the medication, and do not have contraindications to disulfiram, Antabuse can work to help prevent you from drinking…because the side effects of doing so can be very uncomfortable.

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STEP 3: Review your medical history and alcoholism diagnosis.

People with severely impaired judgment or who are highly impulsive from a severe mental illness or cognitive impairment may be inappropriate candidates for treatment with Antabuse. This this reason, doctors need to complete a medical and psychiatric history before you can get Antabuse.

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Before s/he writes a prescription for Antabuse, your doctor will need to perform a physical exam, baseline liver and kidney function tests, and a pregnancy test for women. Electrocardiogram may also be necessary if you  have a history of heart disease.  S/He will also need to determine whether or not allergies to disulfiram or other drugs are present and if you are currently taking prescription and nonprescription medications, including vitamins.

STEP 4: Try it out over an agreed period of time.

Getting Antabuse isn’t about seeking and securing a one-time prescription. This medication is best used when you work with your prescribing doctor over time. Furthermore, Antabuse can stay in your system for up to two (2) weeks after last regular dose.  So, be prepared to try the medicine for at least 3 months, although your doctor may recommend that you stay on the medication for a year or longer if the treatment is working. You should also know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.

STEP 5: Report back side effects to your doctor.

Medication related reactions may occur for up to 2 weeks after you stop taking Antabuse. And these symptoms are not comfortable at all. Be sure to record and report all negative or sever side effects of Antabuse to your doctor and work to achieve an optimal dosing regimen.

How is Antabuse supplied?

So, what form does Antabuse usually take?

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Each Antabuse tablet is intended for oral administration and contains 250 mg or 500 mg disulfiram, USP. Tablets also contain colloidal silicon dioxide, lactose anhydrous, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, and stearic acid. Disulfiram itself occurs as a white to off-white, odorless, and almost tasteless powder, soluble in water to the extent of about 20 mg in 100 mL, and in alcohol to the extent of about 3.8 g in 100 mL.

How do you take Antabuse?

The average maintenance dose of Antabuse is in the range of ~250 mg daily (125-500 mg) and should not exceed 500 mg daily. In the first phase of treatment, a maximum of 500 mg daily is given in a single dose for one to two weeks. Although usually taken in the morning, disulfiram may be taken right before you sleep if you experience a sedative effect. Alternatively, to minimize, or eliminate, the sedative effect, dosage may be adjusted downward.

The daily, uninterrupted administration of Antabuse is usually continued until you are fully recovered socially from problem drinking and have established a basis for permanent self-control. Depending on the individual, maintenance therapy may be required for months or even years.

Note: Occasionally people report that they are able to drink alcoholic beverages without any symptoms. In these cases, it is unlikely that disulfiram is ineffective. Rather, it’s possible that regular dosing does not occur.

Before you get Antabuse: Doctor-Patient information

Before taking Antabuse, you’ll need to verify a few key requirements. While mentioned about, we’ll repeat them here in a checklist. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if:

  1. You are allergic to disulfiram or any other drugs.
  2. What prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially amitriptyline (Elavil), anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin), isoniazid, metronidazole (Flagyl), phenytoin (Dilantin), any nonprescription drugs that might contain alcohol
  3. What vitamins you are taking
  4. If you have or have ever had diabetes, thyroid disease, epilepsy, brain damage, or kidney or liver disease
  5. If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  6. If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking disulfiram.

Getting Antabuse questions

Are you considering taking Antabuse to help you prevent drinking too much? Does someone you love need help for a drinking problem? If you have any further questions let us know! We try to answer each legitimate inquiry with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: MedlinePlus: Disulfiram
SAMHSA: Incorporating Alcohol Pharmacotherapies Into Medical Practice
Dailymed: ANTABUSE- disulfiram tablet
Medications To Treat Alcoholism
Pubchem: Disulfiram
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

34 Comments

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  1. My father is addicted to alcohol since so many years he has got widthdrawal symptoms and leaves alcohols for a year and again starts drinking …this kind is repeated everytime he leaves and agains starts again and he doesnot wants to go for treatment wat can i do ..

    1. Hi Antara. A stay in a rehab center may help.Also, I suggest you consult with a doctor, and see if they can prescribe Antabuse.

  2. Hi, I have tried for a few years to obtain Antabuse for my self and the past Doctors will not prescribe, I just get told to go to AA, I have been to AA for years and even had a Month in the Priory but Will Power just wont do it, I need the Antabuse as a deterrent, Its so frustrating.

    1. Hi Ramón V. You may be able to buy Antabuse without prescription. Talk with a doctor or a pharmacist first, and take the medication as instructed.

  3. Hi, can antabuse be supplied via an injection? I’ve heard it may and this eliminates the need to take it daily with medication. I’ve heard the injection can last for up to 6 months. Is this correct?

  4. My partner has an alcohol problem but won’t fi d help. It’s torture on everyone, is there a way I am get Antabuse for him. He wont get help unless it’s provided to him on a silver platter

  5. Hi,

    I have been diagnosed with alcoholism in around 2010 and was prescribed some pills to help. I was also a valium addict at the time and decided not to take the pills (they were something that affected your brain to make you feel like you’d already had a drink, is how the doctor said it to me?) I have moved on since then and alcoholism has not been too much of a problem.

    I met my wife in 2013, we quickly had a child, my daughter, and got married in enough time for her great grandmother to see her happy. It was very rushed arrangement and it turns out it wasn’t right for her.

    On January 1st she texted me to tell me that she had had enough of our marriage,and even though I genuinely feel I had done nothing wrong, she was gone. I have drank every day since, from January 1st until February 15th. I am starting to feel that I have no control over my drinking, that whatever tactics I try they fail. In Scotland we have a 10pm cut off for buying alcohol and even when I have been with friends I always find a way to make that final call and buy some beers before 10.

    I am on antidepressants from the doctor but this past week I have been missing work, drinking all day, waking up at 7 or 8 and drinking some more. Ihave had enough, I want to talk to my doctor about Antabuse but I am scared she’ll say no, scared she’ll send me away and tell me there is another option. I fear that there is not. I have applied for councelling through our NHS but it takes time, months when to get an appointment but I can’t wait to long.

    Do you have any advice to ensure that I get approved this drug.

    Thanks,
    Rob

  6. My father has a drinking problem. He was an alcoholic years ago and was able to stop for a very long time. He has since (last couple of years) has began drinking again. He has violent tendencies when he’s drunk. The next day he is always extremely apologetic for his behavior while he was drunk. He went to the doctor and the doctor prescribed antibuse for him. Shortly after they left the doctor, the doctor called back and said they decided not to prescribe it because his blood sugar was slightly elevated. My father has never been a diabetic nor was the doctor concerned enough to begin any type of diabetic regimen. My dad understands drinking would cause him to be extremely sick. This makes me sad because I really believe he wants to stop drinking and I think this will help. Typically he has the urge to drink on the weekends. Even though he knows my mom is ready to kick him out he can’t seem to stop. How do I convince his doctor this is important and could save his marriage and life. If my mom kicks him out, he will drink himself to death. Any suggestions appreciated.

    1. Hi Sarah. Maybe it’s time to stage an intervention. I suggest that you look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help: http://alliesinrecovery.net/about-craft/
      Also, call a toll-free Alcohol Helpline on 1-888-675-1820 to find a high-quality alcohol addiction treatment program. This helpline is accessible 24/7 and gives you the chance to speak with trusted treatment consultants who can help you find an alcohol recovery program for your father’s needs.

  7. Hi, I have tried different avenues to give up alcohol and see antabuse as the way forward. I really feel that the doctor won’t prescribe it me as I am much better than I was. Can I insist on being fiven this. I will ruin my life if I don’t sort this out

  8. I have a sister who drinks too much she neglects her children.
    When she gets paid she goes for a week without coming back or buying anything for the kids. She doesnt want any help. Would i be able to get the antabuse from a dr witout prescription and give it to her without her knowledg and or mix it with her food? This is very stressful becz it affects the kids mostly the one in matric. Plz help

    1. Hi Avela. Even if you take the drug without prescription, Antabuse should be consumed without any alcohol in the body. Your sister needs to know about that. I suggest that you stage an intervention, so your sister may see the problem she has.

  9. Hello, I have a 23 yr old son that has 3 DUIs and can’t stop drinking,. When Antabuse was suggested by me, he automatically said no because he wears cologne, deodorant and he couldn’t if he was taking Antabuse. Is it true that cologne reacts to Antabuse? Is there a shot that does the same when alcohol is used?
    Thank you, Marylynn

    1. Hi Merylynn. It seems to me that your son is avoiding help. There are many alcohol-free colognes, fragrances, deodorant, etc. Moreover, I suggest that you speak with a doctor about the interaction between Antabuse and colognes. Here’s suggested reading on the topic:
      http://www.dopl.utah.gov/forms/MedicationGuide.pdf
      https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/practitioner/pocketguide/pocket_guide4.htm
      https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682602.html#why
      http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA13-4380/SMA13-4380.pdf

  10. My child’s father is a crack cocaine addict and I heard this works for it too. How can I give it to him without him knowing?

    1. Hi Ann. I suggest that you consult with your doctor about how these two medications interact with each other.

  11. I am looking to go to a doctor to try and get a prescription for antabuse.Is there a certain kind of Doctor I need to go to for this and what are the steps I should take going about trying for a prescription?

    1. Hi Joe. Antabuse is prescribed by medical doctors, including family doctors, general practitioners, addiction specialists, and psychiatrists.

  12. My daughter has been drinking heavily for the past 7 years. She is living with me and despite her promises I discover large bottles of vodka that she tries to hide. She will lose her job plus a relationship if she doesn’t stop. She has been doomed a few times this past year but refuses to go to AA. I want her to get antabuse but no doctor that she has seen has prescribed it for her. S she is now on baclofen which is not doing any good at all. Where can I find a doctor who will give her antabus

  13. my husband is a chronic alcoholic and has falling many times. He started having seizures on Wed. so I took him to the hospital and he has bleeding on the brain. They released him 2 days later with a seizure medicine. I assume there is no way to get antabuse without his knowledge. He will not take this medicine knowingly I’m sure of it. He is already back to drinking after coming out of the hospital knowing he is not suppose to and if he falls he can injure himself. Obviously he doesn’t care. I would love to get the antabuse and see if that retrains his brain and tell him the alcohol is making him sick.

    1. Hi Linda. As you said there is no way to get Antabuse because you don’t have alcohol problems. I first suggest that you look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. One NGO called Allies in Recovery has some online reading that can help:
      http://alliesinrecovery.net/about-craft/
      Then, discuss options with your husband and learn as much as you can about Antabuse.

    1. Hi Teresa. How much does he drink? I suggest you call the helpline number displayed on our site to contact our trusted treatment providers and find the most suitable treatment plan and program that will help your son stop drinking.

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