disulfiram
 

Our treatment

Alcoholism treatment takes place at a private certified clinic located in the center of Riga. The treatment usually requires a four-day stay in the clinic; in rare cases five days are needed. You will be monitored by specialists around the clock during your stay.

The basic idea of the treatment is to apply aversive techniques, creating a strong repulsion to alcohol. Disulfiram causes very unpleasant effects when even small amounts of alcohol are consumed. In this way, a persistent motivation for alcohol avoidance is being created.

Our four-day treatment is carried out in two main phases: detoxification and physical treatment with implantable tablets of Disulfiram.

1. Detox

On your arrival at our private clinic you will be consulted by a doctor, be shown to your room, and receive a medical examination. Your detox will begin immediately.
Detoxification is the process of neutralizing and removing toxins from the body, which means that your body will become free from alcohol residuals. This process usually takes 2-3 days, depending on the patient’s condition and medical indications.

Since detoxification is a rather unpleasant phase of the treatment of alcohol dependence (eg, some alcohol withdrawal symptoms are depression, fear, irritability, rapid or increased heart rate, cold or clammy skin), our experts will do their best to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. An individual detoxification scheme for each patient is developed based on their physical and mental characteristics.

At this stage, a series of measures is taken – the symptoms of hangover are relieved, sleep disorders are treated, intravenous injections of vitamins and of special preparations needed for the withdrawal of alcohol and made, the balance of electrolytes is restored, and much more, what prepares the patient for implantation.

After two to three days of detox, the second phase of our alcohol rehabilitation treatment via implant procedure will take place.

2. Implantation von Disulfiram

What is disulfiram?

Disulfiram (also known under the trade names Antabuse, Esperal, and Teturam) is a well-known medicine, which reacts violently with any alcohol intake. When alcohol is consumed it is metabolized by the body into acetaldehyde, one of the main substances that cause hangover syndrome. Usually, the body continues to oxidize acetaldehyde into acetic acid, which is harmless for the system.
Disulfiram interferes with this metabolic process and prevents the oxidation of acetaldehyde into acetic acid. Because of this, Antabuse will cause a concentration of acetaldehyde five to ten times greater than normally occurs when someone drinks alcohol.
The result of its accumulation in the system is a disulfiram-ethanol reaction, the symptoms of which can include nausea, flushing, malaise, chest pain, vomiting, palpitations, sweating, dyspnea, throbbing headache, vertigo, blurred vision, and confusion. In severe reactions, there may be depression, convulsions, and circulatory collapse.

Disulfiram is an effective tool for the treatment of alcohol dependence, since the patient understands that any use of alcohol is dangerous to his health and is accompanied by some very unpleasant symptoms.

What is disulfiram implant?

The procedure consists of 10 implantable tablets of disulfiram (100 mg each) being inserted through a 1.5 cm incision in the abdominal wall. The whole process is performed under local anesthetic, is completely painless, and takes around 20-30 minutes. The implant starts to release a constant flow of the drug at a level sufficient to cause an adverse physical reaction should the patient drink within 10-12 months after the treatment. This procedure is often referred to as “coding”.

When administered in a daily pill, one can simply stop taking the drug and begin drinking a few days later. The obvious advantage of taking disulfiram (Antabuse) in the form of an implant is the difficulty in disposing of it. According to some studies (e.g., to the controlled trial made by C. R. Whyte and P. M. J. O’Brien), disulfiram implant has an incredibly high success rate for prolonged total abstinence. This allows the patient to adjust to a sober life.
Disulfiram implantation is particularly effective in advanced stages of alcoholism. Long-term result also depends largely on the willingness of the patient to overcome the addiction.

Is this the right method for me?

Alcohol dependence coding with medical resources should only be carried when a patient is aware of the danger and possible harm to the body in case of alcohol intake after the procedure, and is willing to overcome the addiction.
We will also make sure the procedure is performed with complete safety to yourself. Based on your answers to our questionnaire, which will be forwarded to you after your initial consultation with us, we will verify whether the disulfiram implantation is the best solution in your case.
In addition, in order to ensure that this method of treatment is right for you, we recommend that you discuss it with your General Practitioner.