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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


BEVILACQUA, Jorge A et al. Disulfiram neuropathy: Report of three cases. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2002, vol.130, n.9, pp.1037-1042. ISSN 0034-9887.

Disulfiram is widely used for aversive treatment of alcoholism. Although it is well tolerated in most patients, one in 15,000 patients will develop peripheral neuropathy every year, which is frequently misdiagnosed as alcoholic neuropathy. Disulfiram neuropathy can be mild or severe, depending on diverse factors such as time of exposure and the dosage. Most patients will present with a motor-sensory neuropathy of the lower limbs, which tends to improve as disulfiram administration ceases, however some cases may remain with permanent sequelae. We report the clinical, laboratory and electrophysiological features of three patients who developed disulfiram neuropathy during treatment of alcoholism. Recovery was incomplete at 8 weeks after treatment cessation in all of them. No other findings justified the clinical features described in these patients. Considering the incidence of alcoholism and the wide use of disulfiram treatment in Chile, we suggest that disulfiram neuropathy is being underdiagnosed. We also stress the fact that disulfiram neuropathy could be avoided by using lower doses (Rev Méd Chile 2002; 130: 1037-42).

Keywords : Alcohol related disorders; Disulfiram; Drug toxicity; Neuropathies.

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