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Disulfiram in the management of alcohol dependence: A comprehensive clinical review

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpsych.2014.41007    6,281 Downloads   9,028 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Disulfiram remains a viable option as a treatment for alcohol dependence and has been shown in recent studies to be successful in treating patients with alcohol dependence in a manner that is superior to both naltrexone and acamprosate. It is also useful in dual diagnosis patients and those with co-morbid cocaine and alcohol dependence. Although disulfiram’s mechanism of action in alcohol dependence was long thought to be its effects as a psychological deterrent, more recent studies have uncovered potential anticraving effects as well. Recent reviews exhort to the importance of supervised disulfiram therapy in highlighting many of the potential and unique benefits of disulfiram. The present article will review the major clinical trials of disulfiram spanning nearly 60 years. It also discusses the usage of disulfiram across diverse populations along with monitoring for compliance and various adverse effects that may be encountered. The paper also reviews certain studies on long acting disulfiram therapy, recent comparative trials of disulfiram and its use in alcohol dependence. The review concludes with the role of disulfiram in the present day and long-term pharmacotherapy of alcohol dependence along with future research needs in this area.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Kalra, G. , Sousa, A. and Shrivastava, A. (2014) Disulfiram in the management of alcohol dependence: A comprehensive clinical review. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 4, 43-52. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2014.41007.

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