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Ethyl Alcohol/Disulfiram Derivatives

This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking or discontinuing any drug or commencing any course of treatment.

Medical warning:

Severe. These medicines may interact and cause very harmful effects and are usually not taken together. Contact your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) for more information.

How the interaction occurs:

Disulfiram and medicines related to it cause an intolerance to alcohol by altering how the body breaks down alcohol. Many medicines (prescription and nonprescription), mouthwashes, and aftershaves contain alcohol. Even a small amount of alcohol (e.g. 15 ml or one tablespoon) can trigger the effects.

What might happen:

Ingesting alcohol or using topical preparations that contain alcohol may result in throbbing in the head and neck, irregular heart beat, rapid heart beat, low blood pressure, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. This interaction may last from 30 to 60 minutes to several hours, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed.

What you should do about this interaction:

Avoid the use of medicines and products that contain alcohol. The amount of alcohol required to cause this interaction varies among patients. Use of topical products such as creams or lotions that contain alcohol may also cause this interaction.If you are using a product that contains alcohol, or if you notice signs or symptoms of this interaction, contact your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist). Your doctor may want to do blood tests or make changes to your medicines.Your healthcare professionals may already be aware of this interaction and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.


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10.Rothrock JF, Johnson PC, Rothrock SM, Merkley R. Fulminant polyneuritis after overdose of disulfiram and ethanol. Neurology 1984 Mar;34(3):357-9.

11.van Ieperen L. Sudden death during disulfiram-ethanol reaction. S Afr Med J 1984 Aug 4;66(5):165.

12.Scott GE, Little FW. Disulfiram reaction to organic solvents other than ethanol. N Engl J Med 1985 Mar 21;312(12):790.

13.USFood and Drug Administration (FDA). Docetaxel: Drug Safety Communication - May Cause Symptoms of Alcohol Intoxication. available at: MedicalProducts/ucm402106.htm June 20, 2014.

Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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