March 22, 2016 | From the Lab Bench

Drug Trivia: Discovery of Antabuse

Question: How was Antabuse (disulfiram) discovered?


Disulfiram was first synthesized in 1881 by a German chemist with little fanfare. Over two decades later, disulfiram was introduced into rubber production to accelerate the vulcanization of rubber. Starting at this time, workers who were exposed to disulfiram noted they had a number of unpleasant sensations (such as flushing, heart racing and respiratory effects) if they consumed alcohol after work.

Now, disulfiram (also known as Antabuse) is designed to act as a deterrent for individuals in treatment for alcohol addiction.