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.
1.Malcolm MT. Alcohol-disulfiram reactions. Br J Psychiatry 1984 May; 144:555.
2.Antabuse (disulfiram) US prescribing information. Teva Women's Health, Inc. February, 2013.
3.Kwentus J, Major LF. Disulfiram in the treatment of alcoholism; a review. J Stud Alcohol 1979 May;40(5):428-46.
4.Rothstein E. Use of disulfiram (Antabuse) in alcoholism. N Engl J Med 1970 Oct 22;283(17):936.
5.Stoll D, King LE Jr. Disulfiram-alcohol skin reaction to beer-containing shampoo. JAMA 1980 Nov 7;244(18):2045.
6.Koff RS, Papadimas I, Honig EG. Alcohol in cough medicines hazard to disulfiram user. JAMA 1971 Mar 22;215(12):1988-9.
7.Mercurio F. Antabuse(R)-alcohol reaction following use of after-shave lotion. JAMA 1952 May 3;149:82.
8.Ellis CN, Mitchell AJ, Beardsley GR Jr. Tar gel interaction with disulfiram. Arch Dermatol 1979 Nov;115(11):1367-8.
9.Hald J, Jacobsen E, Larsen V. The sensitizing effect of tetraethylthiuramdisulphide (Antabuse) by ethylalcohol. Acta Pharmacol 1948;4:285-96.
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: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHuman MedicalProducts/ucm402106.htm June 20, 2014.