How long does disulfiram stay in your system?

Disulfiram is eliminated slowly from the body and can affect the system up to 1-2 weeks after last dose. More on the metabolism of disulfiram here.

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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”.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

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  1. My husband who is having the habit of alcoholism, he is not ready to quit the same, but thought to have once or twice in weekend. Without his knowledge, can I give him disulfiram?

    1. Hi Sankari. You should be aware that this medication can have adverse effects on your husband. Disulfiram should never be taken while he has alcohol in his system. You may cause him serious side effects like dizziness, facial flushing, heat sensations, heart palpitations, hypotension, increased heart beat, restlessness and anxiety, nausea, sweating, vomiting. Instead of doing it on your own, 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.

  2. i took half of a 250 mg today,how long will that stay in my syste,. we are going on a cruise on feb 1 and my husband does not want to take any chances with food

  3. My Boy Frnd is an alcoholic.. for some days he stoped drinking alcohol … same time I’m giving him a tablet… For today it’s been 6 days i started giving tablet …m thinking to stop giving him tablet .. half tablet mixed with food every day.. is it safe ? Can I stop giving him tablet for 6 days … for now he is not drinking … I just wanna know should i stop giving o continue the tablet?

  4. Before 10 year my mothet took me to doctor they inject me & give alcohol leaving treatment but today i m not addictive but still somtimes i get reactions why is it still in my system and how long it should be i m very depressed sometime because everybody laugh on me ans due to reaction i have thoughts os sucide ..is there any treament to remove this reaction from my body please help me

  5. hello
    this cobain case is disturbing me can you tell me please 1.52milligram per liter in the blood are you able to move if you have a big tolarance for example?

  6. 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
    Amitesh

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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 system.my dr says its stay in ur body for atleast 3 years. Its true.

  10. 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 .

  11. 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.

  12. Hi

    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

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

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

  14. 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…….

  15. 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

    1. 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.

  16. 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.
    Vijay

  17. 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.

  18. 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

    1. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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?

  21. 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

  22. 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
    ,

  23. 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

  24. 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 ?

  25. 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 ?

  26. 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?

  27. 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?

    1. 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.

  28. 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.

    1. 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.

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