The Relationship Between Antabuse and Caffeine Explained


Antabuse is a tool that can be used to help people with alcoholism maintain sobriety.

The medication is designed to create unpleasant reactions in people who ingest alcohol, thereby acting as a deterrent.

Many people ask about whether they should limit or even stop their caffeine intake while taking this medication.

In this article, we will cover how Antabuse and caffeine interact in the body and what effects this may have. Read on to find out more about:

  1. What Antabuse is used for
  2. If you can take Antabuse together with caffeine
  3. The interaction between Antabuse and caffeine
  4. The risks of combining Antabuse and caffeine
  5. What medications and drugs to avoid with Antabuse.

Let’s get into it.

What is Antabuse Used For?

Antabuse is an FDA-approved medication that is prescribed to people who suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (also known as chronic alcoholism).

It helps support people in recovery to maintain their assistance from alcohol by acting as a deterrent.

Antabuse is also sometimes used in people who suffer from cocaine dependence, as it is thought to stabilize the neurotransmitters that are involved in cocaine addictions.

It is often prescribed by healthcare professionals to:

  1. Individuals with alcohol dependence who have detoxification from alcohol
  2. Those who have difficulty maintaining abstinence from alcohol
  3. People who are motivated to stop drinking but struggle with relapse
  4. Individuals in a structured treatment program for alcohol addiction, including people in rehabilitation centers.

Can You Take Antabuse and Caffeine Together?

For most people, taking Antabuse with moderate levels of caffeine is safe.

However, if you are caffeine-sensitive, you may want to limit your caffeine intake while taking Antabuse.

It is also important to note that some studies have found that caffeine levels may be increased in people who take Antabuse.

Therefore, this may worsen the side effects of caffeine ingestion – particularly in those who are already caffeine-sensitive.

If you experience adverse effects when taking Antabuse such as restlessness, a racing heart, or sweating, it may be best to avoid caffeine intake as this can make these issues more pronounced.

The Interaction between Antabuse and Caffeine?

There are no significant interactionsbetween caffeine and disulfiram (Antabuse). However, Antabuse may make you more sensitive to the effects of caffeine – especially its stimulant qualities.

This minor interaction may be because your liver is busy digesting and eliminating disulfiram from the body instead of breaking down caffeine.

Therefore, it may be best to limit caffeine intake while taking Antabuse particularly if you experience insomnia, irritability, or nervousness when you take either caffeine or Antabuse.

Antabuse may also increase the risks of adverse effects, especially if alcohol is ingested. These effects may be made more severe by the ingestion of caffeine.

For example, the Disulfiram-alcohol reaction may cause shortness of breath, a racing heart, and psychotic reactions that may subsequently be worsened by caffeine intake.

Implications and Risks of Combining Antabuse with Caffeine

  1. Increased risk of cardiovascular side effects: Antabuse cannot be used in people who have had heart attacks (myocardial infarctions) or congestive heart failure as the medication may make their condition worse.

    Even for people without these conditions, a high level of caffeine intake may elevate their risk of cardiovascular side effects as caffeine naturally increases heart rate and blood pressure

  2. Potential for increased agitation or restlessness: Some people may experience restlessness when taking Antabuse and may choose to avoid caffeine intake to avoid these unpleasant side effects
  3. Elevated heart rate and blood pressure : People who already experience anxiety may notice a marked uneasiness when taking caffeine which naturally increases heart rate and puts them at risk of irregular heart rates and overall restlessness
  4. Greater likelihood of experiencing anxiety or panic attacks: Because caffeine is a stimulant drug, high levels of caffeine consumption may increase the risk of anxiety and panic attacks
  5. Possible interference with the metabolism of Antabuse : Both disulfiram and caffeine elimination occur through hepatic metabolism, meaning that the liver is responsible for the excretion of both drugs.

    Antabuse may slow down the rate of caffeine breakdown, depending significantly on your liver function.

What to Avoid While Taking Antabuse

There are certain medications that can cause Disulfiram-like reactions and other side effects. Antabuse may also make some medications less effective.

It is therefore important to always discuss the fact you are using Antabuse with your healthcare provider before starting a new medication.

Potential drug interactions can occur with:

  1. Blood thinners
  2. Benzodiazepines
  3. Tricyclic antidepressants
  4. Cough/ cold syrups and mouthwash containing alcohol
  5. Certain antibiotics
  6. Certain antipsychotics
  7. Cannabis and other mind-altering drugs.

Many of these medications are eliminated by the liver. This means that people with hepatic impairment (a decline in liver function due to liver disease or alcohol abuse) may not be able to take these medications at the same time as Antabuse.

Final Thoughts

Antabuse is a medication that can be prescribed to people who suffer from chronic alcohol dependency.

Although there is only a minor interaction between Antabuse and caffeine, it is important to know that Antabuse can slow the elimination of caffeine and make you more prone to its side effects.

If you suffer from an irregular heartbeat, anxiety, and insomnia, it is important to avoid caffeine intake while taking Antabuse.

If you have any concerns about the medication, it is also important to discuss these with your healthcare provider who will be able to provide you with reliable advice.


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