Disulfiram is a drug used in the treatment of alcohol use disorder, by producing an acute sensitivity to drinking alcohol.

  • Disulfiram works by inhibiting the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), causing many of the effects of a hangover to be felt immediately following alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Metabolism and Disulfiram Fig. 1

What's the difference between Aldehyde dehydrogenase and Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase?

Aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) (note the plural) are a family/class of enzymes, while acetaldehyde dehydrogenase refers to the more specific enzyme catalyzing the conversion of acetaldehyde specifically. These terms might be used interchangeably in the literature, which can be confusing! Just make sure to not confuse it with alcohol dehydrogenase, which is a step ahead in the metabolism of alcohol!