Anti-Alcohol Antabuse Implant Used in Eastern Europe

Drug implant lasts 12 months to kick alcohol use

Worried Woman
Implant Therapy Becomes More Popular. © Getty Images

Antabuse (disulfiram) is a common anti-alcohol drug that is used in the United States and the United Kingdom in a daily pill form. It is effective, however, if you are seeking a version of the drug that is implanted and that works non-stop for 12 months, then you have to go to Eastern Europe. Only one alcoholic drink is enough to make you violently ill. For this reason, it has been found to be an effective alcohol-deterrent drug.

Medical Vacations for Antabuse Implant Treatment

In 2010, a news article in the Daily Mail of London showed that many professional women from the U.K. would travel to Eastern European clinics in Latvia, Poland, and the Ukraine, on a "medical vacation" to get the medical treatment package for a cost of about $4,400, which included travel, accommodations and the treatment.

A Latvian clinic reported in 2010 that 80 percent of its clients were women in their late 30s and 40s, mostly from the U.K. The health center claimed that the women shared a common thread, most were having problems balancing motherhood, career, and home life, and they would secretly drink at home to get through their day.

How Does Antabuse Work? 

In the U.S., Antabuse is the oldest medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcoholism. Unlike newer medications for alcoholism that either stop the pleasurable effects of alcohol or dampen your craving to take a drink, Antabuse works by producing an extremely negative reaction every time you take a drink.

Antabuse is a medication that blocks the normal breakdown of alcohol in your system, making you extremely ill within minutes. It causes symptoms similar to a hangover, but much more severe.  

In general, you might experience a drop in blood pressure and a rapid heartbeat. Other symptoms include dizziness, severe sweating, intense headaches, heart palpitations, hyperventilation, and shortness of breath.

Nausea and vomiting are common effects as well.

Antabuse as an Implant

In Eastern European clinics, the Antabuse implants are placed under the person's skin above the stomach. The implant releases a constant dose of the drug over a 12-month period.

"I would say 95 percent of the inquiries we've had are from women who tell us they are at home drinking sometimes as many as three bottles of wine a night. Many of them have been telling us that nobody knows about the level of their drinking and they are desperate as they know they are destroying their lives and the lives of those they love," said Russell Hughes, owner of Aluston Health in Riga, Latvia.

Research Studies on Antabuse

Research has shown that long-term use of Antabuse is effective because it can help you stop drinking by helping you break the habit of drinking. Antabuse can help you stop drinking long enough to find out that you can live without alcohol.

The drawback, at least in the U.S., is that the drug is only available in daily pill form and you can simply stop taking the pill at any time and take up drinking again. That is not as easy to do with an under-the-skin implant.

    Sources:

    The Daily Mail: Career Women Battling With Alcoholism Turn to Eastern Europe for Secret Cure, 2010.

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Medication for the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Brief Guide. 2015. 

    Continue Reading