Hasselhoff Says Drugs, Not Drinking, Caused His Symptoms

According to TMZ.com, David Hasselhoff claims that he was not drunk, but that he was having a problem with his ears:

“Hasselhoff’s people tell us he was being treated by his family doctor for an ear infection and was taking Antivert. Hasselhoff was also taking Antabuse,which prevents alcoholics from drinking. The Hoff’s camp says the combination of drugs messed up his equilibrium, he was feeling sick and wasn’t able to reach his family doctor.”

Hasselhoff was discharged from the hospital after about one hour.

Antabuse, trade name for the drug tetraethylthiuram disulfide, is used in the treatment of alcoholism. Also called sulfiram, Antabuse is nontoxic, but it alters the metabolism of alcohol in the body, making it impossible for one who is taking the drug to drink without experiencing severe discomfort. When alcohol is present the drug increases the concentration of acetaldehyde in the body, causing symptoms resembling those of a bad hangover: the individual feels hot, the face becomes flushed, the neck and head throb, and nausea, vomiting, and headache may follow. Small quantities of alcohol, such as from food sauces and cough medicines, and even inhaled traces from shaving lotions and varnishes, may induce the same symptoms.

Antivert is an antihistamine. It blocks the effects of the naturally occurring chemical histamine in your body. It is used to treat or prevent nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness. It is also used to treat symptoms of vertigo (dizziness, spinning), which can be caused by inner ear problems.

A check for drug interactions at www.drugs.com and www.medscape.com did not specifically find any adverse interactions between these two drugs, however, there are many other drugs/food that can have interactions with either of the two. It should also be noted that an individual can still have an adverse drug interaction despite a “no reaction” result.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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