In the United States and the United Kingdom, Antabuse is only available in the form of a daily pill.
The European clinics - located in Latvia, Poland and Ukraine - offer a package that includes travel, hotel and the implant treatment for a cost of about $4,400 US. The implant is effective for one year.
Antabuse is a medication that blocks the normal breakdown of alcohol in the system, making anyone who drinks while taking it extremely ill within minutes. It causes symptoms similar to a hangover, but much more severe.
An Antabuse Implant Treatment
In the European clinics, the Antabuse implants are placed under the patient's skin above their stomach and release a constant dose of the drug over a 12-month period.
One such clinic, Aluston Health located in Riga, Latvia, expected a large response when it began offering the implant treatment, also known as "The Code." But they were surprised at who responded. Since he opened, owner Russell Hughes said that 80 per cent of his clients are women in their late 30s and 40s.
"Since launching we've been inundated with inquiries - the majority of which are from women in their 40s secretly drinking at home," Hughes told The Daily Mail. "We were prepared for a great deal of interest but what we were not prepared for was who it would be from.
"I would say 95 per cent of the inquiries we've had are from these 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," Hughes said.
"They've either unsuccessfully tried [other] treatment or are too embarrassed to admit their problem."
Antabuse for Extreme Alcoholics
In the U.S., Antabuse is the oldest medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of alcoholism. Unlike new medications for alcoholism that either block the effects of alcohol or block the craving to take a drink, Antabuse works by producing an extreme negative reaction every time someone taking it takes a drink.
Research has shown that long-term use of Antabuse is very effective in helping people to stop drinking, because it helps them develop a habit of not drinking and stops them from drinking long enough to find out that they can live without alcohol.
The drawback, at least in the United States, is that the drug is only available in daily pill form and the patient can simply stop taking the pill at any time and take up drinking again. That would not be as easy to do with an under-the-skin implant.
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