PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 250 and 500 mg
Disulfiram may increase blood levels of phenytoin (Dilantin), leading to high blood levels of phenytoin. Blood levels of phenytoin should be monitored and the dose of phenytoin should be adjusted as needed.
STORAGE: Disulfuram should be storec at room temperature, 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).
DOSING: Disulfiram should not be started unless a patient has stopped ingesting alcohol for at least 12 hours.
- The initial dose is 500 mg every day for 1 to 2 weeks.
- After two weeks a maintenance dose of 125 to 500 mg is given daily.
- The average maintenance dose is 250 mg daily.
- Treatment is continued until the patient develops self control.
- Maintenance therapy may be required for months or even years.
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Disulfiram is an oral drug used for treating alcoholism. Alcohol is converted in the body into acetaldehyde by an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase. Another enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase then converts acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Disulfiram prevents acetaldehyde dehydrogenase from converting acetaldehyde into acetic acid, leading to a buildup of acetaldehyde levels in the blood.
High acetaldehyde levels cause unpleasant symptoms after drinking alcohol such as:
- low blood pressure,
- chest pain,
- headache, and
- several other symptoms.
These unpleasant side effects dissuade alcoholics from drinking. The FDA approved disulfiram in August, 1951.
Medically reviewed by Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
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