Saturday May 26th 2018

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How long does disulfiram stay in your system?

Disulfiram is a medication that makes you sick if you drink. How? It prevents metabolic break down of acetaldehyde in the liver. Basically, when someone who is not taking disulfiram has an alcoholic drink, the ethanol is metabolized to carbon dioxide and water. When taking this medication, acetaldehyde builds up in the bloodstream and it produces a very unpleasant physical reaction. But how long does this effect last?

Read more here about the use of disulfiram for alcoholism and learn the details about its effects and elimination period. Then, you can send us your feedback through the comments section. We also welcome any questions you might have, and try to provide personal and prompt answers.

Main disulfiram uses

Disulfiram is a type of prescription drug used in the treatment of chronic alcoholism. Disulfiram does not have euphoric effect; instead, it deters recovering alcoholics from drinking by blocking the process of metabolic breakdown of alcohol after acetaldehyde is created. The effects of disulfiram are felt as quickly as 10 minutes after consuming alcohol and can last for at least 30 minutes, in some patients they may continue for several hours. The reaction is so unpleasant and severe that most users would rather abstain from drinking. When taken along with alcohol, side effects are related to the elevated acetaldehyde levels. These side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • facial flushing
  • heat sensations
  • heart palpitations
  • hypotension
  • increased heart beat
  • restlessness and anxiety
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • vomiting

This medication is prescribed IN ADDITION TO OTHER treatments that help patients reach their goal. When combined with behavioral and psychological therapies, disulfiram can help produce enough sober days in a row for patients to work on examining the reasons that compel them to drink. Understanding triggers, dealing with underlying painful emotions and learning positive and healthy coping mechanisms are really the path to long term periods of abstinence. Without these long-term efforts to make a positive changes in life, disulfiram cannot cure alcoholism and it’s not a magic pill that makes people “just stop drinking”.

How do you take disulfiram?

Disulfiram should never be initiated while you are still in a state of alcohol intoxication, and not until at least 12 hours after alcohol ingestion. The initial dose of disulfiram is 500mg, taken orally once a day, preferably in the morning. This initial dose is continued throughout the first 1-2 weeks and is then changed to the maintenance dose. The dose prescribed for disulfiram maintenance is 250mg once a day.

Treatment with this medication can be continued for at least 6 months and up to a year, or in some cases even longer. It is important to note that alcohol should be avoided for at least 14 days after the last dose of disulfiram is taken, because of the risk of side effects.

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Peak levels and half life of disulfiram

After a single administered dose, around 80-95% of disulfiram is absorbed slowly from the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract and distributed throughout the body, while the remaining 5-20% are excreted. The half life of disulfiram is 60 to 120 hours.

How long does disulfriram stay in the body?

Disulfiram is eliminated slowly from the body. Basically, the drug can stay in the body for up to two weeks and can make patients feel sick any time they consume alcohol during that period. In fact, alcohol ingestion has been known to produce the same unpleasant effects 1-2 weeks after a person has taken her last dose of disulfiram.

Problems with disulfiram

Problems and reactions to disulfiram are possible in some patients, due to a combination of the medication and alcohol or if disulfiram is taken alone. If taken alone, disulfiram may produce toxic effects on the central nervous system (CNS), thyroid and/or skin. Any side effects and irritation caused by the medication should be reported to a doctor.

Disulfiram treatment questions

Are you thinking of getting help for your problem with alcohol, or do you have a loved one suffering from alcoholism? Disulfiram treatment can be a part of a successful alcohol treatment and help you or someone you know to kick the habit for good.

If you have any questions regarding disulfiram use in alcohol recovery, don’t hesitate to ask. We invite you to post your comments in the section at the end of the page. We appreciate your feedback and try to answer all legitimate questions personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: CDC: Occupational Safety and Health Guidelines for Disulfiram
DailyMed: Antabuse-disulfiram tablet
NCBI: Incorporating Alcohol Pharmacotherapies Into Medical Practice: Chapter 3-Disulfiram
Medline Plus: Disulfiram
NCBI: Side-effects of Disulfiram 
PubMed: Elimination kinetics of disulfiram in alcoholics after single and repeated doses

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee

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39 Responses to “How long does disulfiram stay in your system?
12:47 pm February 23rd, 2015

Wants to know that my husband is having chronol 500mg since two and half years.he still have a craving for drinking,can he continue with the medicine.tell me the maximum time a person can take chronol.

4:37 pm March 2nd, 2015

Hello Neetu. How long should disulfiram be used as a part of alcohol treatment depends on the doctors’ estimation. Disulfiram is not the kind of medication that can influence alcohol cravings, it’s supposed to make a person sick if they drink even the least amounts of alcohol, and thus cause an aversion to alcohol. I hope your husband goes to therapy sessions, since Chronol is not a medication that cures alcoholism and a full alcohol treatment program is still required.

1:46 pm July 14th, 2015

one thing i want to confirm from your side. does this tablet cures alcohol addiction? because am also giving this tablet (1/4 part) to my husband without his knowledge. and he is not ready to come for any treatment. I don’t know the way to cure his addiction. please help me. Does this cure him if i give regularly to him?

4:54 pm July 14th, 2015

Hi Xx. No, disulfiram does not cure alcoholism. In fact, your husband can be in great danger if he drinks after you have given him the medication. The reaction of mixing disulfiram with alcohol is very unpleasant and severe. Some of side effects include dizziness, facial flushing, heat sensations, heart palpitations, hypotension, increased heart beat, restlessness and anxiety, nausea, sweating, vomiting. Please stop giving him the medication without him knowing, it can seriously hurt him. You can call the number displayed on our page to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers and seek adequate alcoholism treatment for your husband.

6:13 am August 19th, 2015

I have been off of this drug for 9 days now. How do I know if I am able to have a drink without having an effect? Should I take a drink and wait a few minutes to see if anything happens? And if it doesn’t is it ok to keep drinking?

4:12 pm August 24th, 2015

Hi Sue. I’d recommend you wait for the designated amount of time before you start drinking.

1:46 pm December 22nd, 2015

HI I had taken disulfiram injection 20 days back
If i drink in small amount once in week ,will it creates die effect in body?
I am taking medicines daily also

Could you please let me know effect of disulfiram remains in body after injecting the same ?

6:21 am February 20th, 2016

HI I had taken disulfiram injection 20 days back
If i drink in small amount once in week ,will it creates die effect in body?
I am taking medicines daily also
Could you please let me know effect of disulfiram remains in body after injecting the same ?

3:21 pm March 9th, 2016

I have taken half tablet of disulfiram tablet ,yesterday night,and half today morning, for the first time in life,can I have few glass of red wine or breezer today night

5:33 am April 5th, 2016

When I stay at home I dont drink because my wife gets hypo & I love her, but when I go out at site I take a 175 ml alcohol but after few days I lose control & go upto 350 ml. I am patient of mild epilepsy the attach do not come if I am regular on Sodium Proate & Valproic Acid. Recently Dr advised me to take Disulfiram after few days I had business tension & I had severe attack of Epilepsy, I urinated first time when I was unconscious with stretched face,Now when I urinate heat comes from feet with dark yellow urine, hand shakes,feel restlessness, not able to decide issues in meetings with clients,forget names & simple English words. Shall I discontinue Disulfiram & go for other treatment like Homoeopathy, Psychopathic counsellor & yoga etc

5:17 am May 14th, 2016

Sir I was taking disulfiram tablet now I stopped it for months but still I am having effects on me when I drink what is cure from the tablet effects

1:28 pm July 16th, 2016

I have been taking 500mg of disulfiram daily for three months. Over the last 3 weeks I have been experiencing increased tingling and numbness in my feet. I am now experiencing lower extremity weakness when I walk around the block. Has anyone reported this severe of a side effect? What is your advise?

4:41 pm August 14th, 2016

I used to take disulphiram tablets n stopped taking it.. But still i have side effects on drinks.. Do u knw of any cure from dis

4:42 pm August 20th, 2016

I took 250mg for 3 days and I have not taken it in 3 days. Would I get sick I have a few drinks?

4:21 pm November 26th, 2016

I took one single dose of 250mg disulfiram 36hrs back. Will it effect if I take alcohol after single dose 36 hrs later.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:52 pm November 29th, 2016

Hi Lenin. I suggest that you talk with a doctor about your concern.

12:40 am January 6th, 2017

Can I take disulfiram morning and night, i weigh 135 lbs.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:01 pm January 10th, 2017

Hi Leslie. I suggest that you speak with your doctor before taking any medications.

8:46 pm February 22nd, 2017

I m giving esperal disulfiram250mg to my brother without his knowledge, I just want to know whether it is safe to continue giving, he is feeling very uncomfortable, is there any preventive measures to be taken. Pl advise

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:12 pm March 1st, 2017

Hi Devi. Your brother should be aware of what you are giving him. Bear in mind that disulfiram should never be taken while your brother has STILL alcohol in his system. You may cause him serious damage to his health.

3:42 am March 8th, 2017

My husband took this medicine for one and half years. After two years he again start taking alcohol. And there is no effects when he consumes alcohol. I want to ask how long this medicine can be given so that the person will not consume it for whole life. As my husband is a chronic alcoholic and take alcohol all the time.
I’m feeling helpless.

6:48 pm March 10th, 2017

Madam / Sir,
It had been almost two years when I took last dose of disulfiram but even now if I consume 30 ml of alcohol it make me uneasy.
Does the effect of disulfiram lasts even after two years.
Kindly confirm.

3:45 pm March 22nd, 2017

My wife is give mi disulpharim.when I m drink I m not feeling. Well what can I do.pls I m not drink regularly pls Tell mi

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
6:04 pm March 27th, 2017

Hi Amit. I suggest that you go to the hospital if you don’t feel well. Keep in mind that in order to take disulfiram, your body needs to be alcohol-free.

7:58 pm April 18th, 2017

I taken this tablet for six month and stoped know… if i drink alcohol. Eye become red, skin is itching, breath is slow, heart beat is very high.. how long thus the tablet been in my body…….

11:18 am April 19th, 2017

Hello Muthaiyan. Disulfiram can stay in the body for a couple weeks after last dose. Please consult with a pharmacist for more information.

11:20 pm May 12th, 2017

if i dont trust that someone has taken antabuse in the morning can i give it in the evening…that is 250 mg.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:51 pm May 16th, 2017

Hi Rick. I suggest that you consult with a doctor first, but it seems to me that it’s okay.

10:05 pm May 25th, 2017


I am taking disulfiram from last 1 month to stop my regular intake of alcohol. Now I am in control of not taking alcohol. But now i want to take alcohol once in month or in 15 days. When can I start drink after consuming 30 tab 1 per day for month. How many days this effect present in my body.
Please suggest

5:53 pm May 29th, 2017

Hi, my husband is starting on Disulfrim as of tomorrow…..can he take his one tablet a day in the evening oppose to morning as it says on bottle that it may cause drowsiness and he then shouldn’t drive but he has to drive to work so don’t want to take any chances.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:51 pm June 6th, 2017

Hi Jagz. I suggest that you consult with your husband’s doctor.

2:35 pm October 10th, 2017

i thought i was the only guy looking for ways to get round disulfiram. guys only time can answer sometimes i can drink after taking disulfiram. but if you are taking tablets for month or years like i did. there is no way you can come around . i had to wait for a year lol .

3:49 pm January 21st, 2018

How to remove disualfirm from body

8:52 pm March 5th, 2018

Person having blood pressure and other stomach related deaseas can he take dissulfiram

12:00 am March 22nd, 2018

Hello ,want to know that i took injection alconil 500
3months back. But now when i drink beer or small amount of alcohol .i having high effects like eyes red, fast hertbeat, body rash, vomiting, sweating, headache, breathing problem, i want to know how long its stay in my body dr says its stay in ur body for atleast 3 years. Its true.

10:56 am March 22nd, 2018

Hello ,want to know that i took injection alconil 500
Last 3months back. But now when i drink beer or small amount of alcohol .i having high effects like eyes red, fast hertbeat, body rash, vomiting, sweating, i want to know how long its stay in body

10:36 am March 28th, 2018

Hello ,
I was taking disulfiram 250mg in dosage of half tablet both time morning and evening from last 3 days I m not having disulfiram 250mg is it safe if I have couple of drinks.

6:43 pm May 22nd, 2018

sir I am in de addiction center since three months .i am taking Esperal 250 mg daily since three months. How long I will take medicine in de addiction center .Wheather I will come back to my home and continue to take medicine. Please suggest.
Thanking you

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:35 pm May 23rd, 2018

Hi Amitesh. It depends from the severity of your addiction. I suggest that you consult with your doctor about this.

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