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Anti-drinking medications to help you drop the bottle

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2008 10:00 pm

Q: My 34-year-old son is an alcoholic and has been in rehab for five months, court-ordered. After being out for only two weeks, he had a relapse and then went to detox. Now, he is taking Antabuse. How does it work, what are the side effects and what are some other treatment options? - M.S., Lakewood, CO

A: Antabuse (disulfiram) was the first prescription pill used for alcoholism and it's been sold in the United States since 1948. Antabuse won't curb the intense craving, but it will make your son think twice about having a drink. If he drinks with Antabuse on board, he will experience severe and copious vomiting - the unpleasant goal of the drug. Fight fire with fire, so to speak. It works by causing your body to accumulate a toxic by-product of alcohol called acetaldehyde (yes, the same substance that causes hangovers) and the buildup causes the negative reaction. Antabuse is only for people who really want to stop drinking, who fully understand the consequences of a sip.

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