Blog/Everyday Health

What Is Antabuse? How Long Does Antabuse Stay in Your System? Key Facts about the Drug

Trying to kick a drinking habit can be tough. But what happens if you decide to take Antabuse? Read on to know about the drug and how long it stays in your system

What is Antabuse? How long does it stay in your body? These are common questions people have about this medication. Antabuse, also known as disulfiram, is a medicine that helps people who struggle with alcohol addiction. It works by making you feel sick when you drink alcohol, which helps discourage you from drinking.

But how long does Antabuse stay in your system? This is important to know because it affects what happens if you drink alcohol while taking the medicine and when it’s safe to drink alcohol after you stop taking it.

In this article, we will answer these questions and provide important facts about Antabuse, including how well it works and what side effects it may have. It’s important to understand this information if you’re considering taking Antabuse to safely and effectively treat your alcohol addiction.

Understanding Antabuse: The Basics

Antabuse primary purpose is to help individuals quit drinking and overcome their addiction to alcohol. When someone takes Antabuse and drinks alcohol, it makes them feel really sick. This strong reaction helps them avoid alcohol and stay on track in their recovery.

Here’s how it works:

When Antabuse enters the body, it stops an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase from doing its job. This enzyme normally breaks down alcohol in the body. So, if someone on Antabuse drinks alcohol, the level of a harmful substance called acetaldehyde increases a lot.

High levels of acetaldehyde can cause unpleasant symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, flushing (turning red), a fast heartbeat, and trouble breathing. These physical reactions make people uncomfortable and not want to drink alcohol.

By creating these negative effects, Antabuse helps people break the cycle of alcohol addiction. It gives them a strong reason to stay away from alcohol and helps them stay committed to their sobriety. It’s like a support system that helps prevent them from going back to drinking.

Understanding Antabuse and how it discourages alcohol consumption gives us insight into how this medicine works. It helps people make good decisions about their alcohol addiction treatment.

Duration of Antabuse in the Body

It’s important to know how long Antabuse stays in your body. This will help you avoid problems and make the right choices when drinking alcohol.

Factors that affect how long Antabuse stays in the body:

Several things can affect how long Antabuse stays in your body. These include your age, weight, how fast your body works to get rid of the medication, how well your liver works, and how much you take. If you’re older, weigh more, have a slow metabolism, or take a higher dose of Antabuse, it may stay in your body longer.

What happens if you drink alcohol while on Antabuse?

It’s very important to avoid drinking any kind of alcohol while taking Antabuse. Drinking alcohol while on this medication can lead to serious problems like trouble breathing, heart issues, seizures, and even death.

What to do if you want to drink alcohol after taking Antabuse:

If you’ve stopped taking Antabuse and want to drink alcohol again, it’s recommended that you wait for at least two weeks before you start drinking. This will make sure that all the medication is out of your body and it’s safe to consume alcohol again.

Understanding how long Antabuse stays in the body is essential for individuals who are taking this medication to help with their alcohol addiction. Age, weight, metabolism, liver function, and dosage can all have an impact on how long Antabuse stays in your body. Remember, it’s crucial to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Antabuse and wait for two weeks after you’ve stopped before you start drinking again.

Safe Use and Effects of Antabuse

Antabuse may cause some side effects. Some common ones are drowsiness, headache, weird taste in the mouth, and skin rash. Severe side effects are rare but may include liver damage, hepatitis, depression, or psychosis. If there are any concerns, speak to a doctor.

It is important to know about Antabuse’s safe use and side effects before starting to take it. This knowledge allows individuals to be prepared and make informed choices. It also empowers people to monitor their health, take necessary precautions, and seek medical help if required.


In conclusion, Antabuse can be an effective treatment for alcohol addiction. Understanding its effects and how long it stays in the system is important for its safe and effective use. Speak to a healthcare professional to learn more about Antabuse and how it may be beneficial in your journey towards recovery from alcohol addiction.

By Dr. Amir Bacchus, MD, MBA

  • Education: Dr. Bacchus received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, where he was named Resident of the Year for both 1993-94 and 1995-96. In 2003, he received a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Bacchus has also been recognized by Las Vegas Life Magazine as one of the best doctors in Las Vegas.
  • Professional Memberships: As the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of the Diagnostic Center of Medicine in Las Vegas, he led a 27-primary care physician practice at five Las Vegas offices. Before taking on a leadership role with the Diagnostic Center of Medicine, he worked as an internist for the company, providing primary care and inpatient/outpatient management with a significant intensive care unit workload.
  • Research Areas: With 23 years of experience in operating, managing, and guiding physician groups, Dr. Amir Bacchus, engages providers to succeed in a dynamic healthcare landscape. Much of his career has focused on healthcare delivery and working with managed care organizations to promote improved quality, access, and cost of care through quality and performance metrics.