Can Disulfiram Precipitate Urges To Drink Alcohol?
Although pharmacological data suggest that patients taking disulfiram should have a reduced desire to drink alcohol, voluntary compliance with disulfiram treatment is quite poor. As a possible explanation for why so many patients discontinue taking disulfiram and return to excessive drinking, it was hypothesized that daily disulfiram administration might serve as a cognitive stimulus precipitating urges to drink alcohol and/or inadvertently exposing patients to additional drinking-related cues. If this is the case, then patients taking disulfiram should report more thoughts about or urges to drink alcohol. In an exploratory, uncontrolled clinical study, alcohol abusers who were taking disulfiram tended to self-record more cravings for alcohol over a two week period than did abstinent patients who were not taking disulfiram. Controlled research is needed to investigate whether disulfiram use may serve as a cue antecedent to relapse to drinking.
Nirenberg, T. D.,
Sobell, L. C.,
Cellucci, A. J.
(1983). Can Disulfiram Precipitate Urges To Drink Alcohol?. Addictive Behaviors, 8(3), 311-313.
Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cps_facarticles/59