I would like to bring to your attention a factual error that appears in the article Geriatric drinkers: Evaluation and treatment for alcohol overuse [BCMJ 2011;53:353-356].
The author states that “Two oral medications (naltrexone and disulfiram) are currently approved in Canada for treating alcohol dependence in the general adult population.” The author then proceeds to describe risks physicians should consider when prescribing disulfiram to elderly patients.
Disulfiram is not approved in Canada for any purpose, including the treatment of alcoholism. Health Canada’s Drug Product Database shows no currently listed medications with disulfiram as an active ingredient (with the exception of a transdermal allergy testing product).
When discontinued medications are searched, we can see that medications containing disulfiram were discontinued in May 2001.
—Matt Mayer, MSc
UBC MD/PhD Program,
Class of 2014
We thank Mr Mayer for looking into disulfiram further. He is correct that the manufacture of disulfiram was discontinued by Wyeth Ayerst in 2001 and is no longer approved for use in Canada by Health Canada.
—J. Rogers, MD
1. Health Canada Drug Product Database. Accessed 3 January 2012. www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodpharma/databasdon/index-eng.php.