The Esperal alcohol insert in Poznań is a measure used during the treatment of alcoholism. The tablets are sewn under the skin, and the active substance is released into the blood very slowly. As a result of the impact of the alcohol insert, patients experience unpleasant symptoms as early as 10 minutes after consuming the alcoholic drink. The intention of the creators of this substance was to cause an aversion to alcohol.
The alcohol insert was formerly known as esperal. In 2009, its production was discontinued, but the product returned under the name Disulifiram WZF. This drug contains the same active substance as in the aforementioned disufiram.
An alcohol insert is a type of pharmacotherapy that is designed to support the treatment of addiction to alcoholic beverages. An insert implant, i.e. simply tablets with a special healing agent, is inserted into an addict by a surgeon. Usually the insert is placed on the buttock or under the shoulder blade. Its operation usually lasts up to eight months.
The alcohol insert and its history
The action of the active substance disulfiram in the context of its impact on people addicted to alcohol was discovered by chance in the 1940s. In 1945, scientists of Danish descent saw that disulfiram as an aldehyde dehydrogenase inhibitor causes a lot of unpleasant side effects in people who consume alcohol in various forms.
Accidental observations of scientists resulted in the introduction of tablets containing disulfiram to the pharmaceutical market. The use of drugs with such a substance significantly supported the treatment of alcoholism.
Alcohol insert – how does it work?
The substance released into the blood from the insert, disulfiram, is responsible for blocking the aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme, which is actively involved in the metabolism of alcohol in the liver. As a result of blocking the action of the enzyme, alcohol is not digested by the human body, so the patient is not intoxicated. Immediately, after 10 minutes from the moment of drinking alcohol, there are symptoms resembling simply a hangover.
The body accumulates acetaldehyde very quickly, which is usually converted into a harmless form. The patient may then feel:
- vomiting may occur,
- shortness of breath,
- excessive sweating,
- blood pressure spikes,
- myocardial infarction.
Symptoms may persist for up to 10 hours. The intention of the creators of this substance was the occurrence of such symptoms that would discourage the use of alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, a large number of people with alcoholism do not identify unpleasant symptoms with alcohol consumption, but with the presence of the insert mentioned here.
How is the procedure of implanting an alcohol insert under the skin carried out and how much can it cost?
The insert, i.e. 8 to 10 tablets with the active substance, is placed under the skin by a surgeon. The tablets are placed under the fascia, usually on the buttock or under the shoulder blade. The alcohol insert can be removed at any time. The tablets can work for up to 8 months and after this time another insert can be inserted if necessary.
The implantation procedure is performed under local anesthesia and lasts up to half an hour. The cost of such a procedure is usually around PLN 300
Alcohol insert – contraindications and reactions with other drugs
The alcohol insert is medicine and not everyone will be able to use it. Contraindications include:
- diseases of the cardiovascular system, including ischemic heart disease, heart failure, hypertension or a history of peripheral circulatory failure,
- allergic to thiocarbamates, disulifiram or any of the ingredients of this medicine.
The insert should also not be used by those who have psychoses or mental disorders, as well as patients who have consumed alcohol 12 hours before the procedure of inserting the tablets under the skin surface.
It should also be borne in mind that tablets containing disulfiram may react not only with alcoholic beverages, but also, for example, with alcohol-based drugs, as well as with any dishes containing alcohol. In addition, disulfiram interacts with anticoagulants, strengthening them.
List of substances with which the reaction may occur: alfentanyl, metronidazole, isoniazidom, amitriptyline, chlorpromazine, chlordiazepoxide, rifampicin, antipyrine, phenytonin or diazepam.
Alcohol insert – possible side effects
Like any drug, the insert can cause side effects. These include:
- peripheral neuritis,
- allergic reactions on the skin,
- paranoid states,
- psychotic reactions,
- depressive states,
- temporary impotence,
- excessive sleepiness,