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answered 08:18 PM EST, Sun May 13, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
My boyfriend is a bad drunk. He always says he wants to stop and hes going to stop but he never lasts more than a few days before hes back drinking again. I know that in his heart he really wants to do better but he just can’t control himself especially after he has even one drink. I know there used to be a medication they gave to alcoholics that made them feel very sick if they drank and so they would not drink. I do not remember what this is called. Do they still give this to alcoholics? Do you know what this medication is called? Would this medication be a good medication for my boyfriend to take, if he really does want to stop drinking but he just can’t control himself?

Scott Graham Says...

In Europe, where this drug is used more than in America, significant success rates have been documented from the long-term use of disulfiram (or antabuse).

Here is how it works:

When alcohol is consumed it is metabolized by the body into acetaldehyde, a very toxic substance that causes many hangover symptoms heavy drinkers experience. Usually, the body continues to oxidize acetaldehyde into acetic acid, which is harmless.

Antabuse interferes with this metabolic process, and hence a person taking antabuse  and then drinking with have 5 or 10 times more acetaldehyde than would normally be produced when they drink alcohol.  Like a super hangover from just one drink.

But there are also possibilities of more severe reactions including respiratory depression, cardiovascular collapse, myocardial infarction, acute congestive heart failure, unconsciousness, arrhythmias, convulsions, and death.

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Page last updated May 14, 2012

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