Error in alcohol overuse article

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[1] 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.

Matt Mayer, MSc,. Error in alcohol overuse article. BCMJ, Vol. 54, No. 1, January, February, 2012, Page(s) 11 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

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