My boyfriend has been taking Antabuse for 5 weeks, has had quite severe reactions to deodorant
when on 1 tablet a day, no reaction though to a beer on 1/2 dose a day.
But now, three days after having one beer he got REALLY sick for two days, diahorrea, vomiting, red splotches, high blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, the works.
He takes meds for high blood pressure anyway, should he be taking Antabuse at all?
Is he having an allergic reaction to the Antabuse itself? The only thing that could've triggered all of this was
vinegar in salad dressing... was really severe, though... he had some other toxic stuff on the weekend, a little bit
of speed, could that have caused a toxic overload maybe?
Is it safe for him to continue using Antabuse? Our doctor isn't very helpful, bit blase' about the dangers of it...
Antabuse has become something used only for 'last ditch efforts' against alcoholism, because of the significant risks of the medication. On one hand, some people will drink chronically on antabuse and somehow adjust to the sickness that follows. But on the other hand, drinking on antabuse CAN be fatal. The drug prevents the normal breakdown of alcohol, leading to build-up of toxic metabolites that in low doses cause flushing and nausea, and in high doses can kill a person. Vinegar goes through the same breakdown pathway as alcohol, at least partally, which is why it made him sick. ALL products that contain alcohol must be avoided-- including certain deodorants and other skin products. Even cooking with wine can be dangerous, as the alcohol vaporizes and potentially enters the lungs, where it can cause a severe response.
This is not an 'allergy'-- these are the expected effects of antabuse. The decision whether to take it depends on the balance of risks. Untreated alcoholism has a high fatality rate itself, not to mention the risk of incarceration, unemployment, etc. Those risks must be weighed against the risk that the person will have a bad reaction to alcohol from antabuse.
One thing is certain-- something must go, either the antabuse or the occasional drinking. I recommend the latter over the former.
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