Author: Gary Jackson

Is It Safe To Drink Alcohol While Taking Medication?

Asking patients about their alcohol use provides opportunities to discuss potential interactions with medications, to advise changes in their drinking if indicated, and to connect them with further resources as needed. As mentioned earlier in this article, H2RAs (e.g., cimetidine, ranitidine, nizatidine, and famotidine), which reduce gastric acid secretion, are used in the treatment of ulcers and heartburn. These agents reduce ADH activity in the stomach mucosa (Caballeria et al. 1991), and cimetidine also may increase the rate of gastric emptying.

Alcohol increases the TCAs’ sedative effects through pharmacodynamic interactions. In addition, alcohol consumption can cause pharmacokinetic interactions with TCAs. For example, alcohol appears to interfere with the first-pass metabolism of amitriptyline in the liver, resulting in increased amitriptyline levels in the blood.

Older people face greater risk

The package inserts for most antibiotics include a warning for patients to avoid using alcohol with those medications. The rationale for these warnings is not entirely clear, however, because only a few antibiotics appear to interact with alcohol. For example, although some antibiotics induce flushing, most antibiotics do not. The antibiotic erythromycin may increase alcohol absorption in the intestine (and, consequently, increase BALs) by accelerating gastric emptying.

When mixed with beer or wine, they can also cause dangerously high blood pressure due to an alcohol byproduct called tyramine. In closing, combining alcohol with certain medications, particularly those with sedative effects, can increase the risk of adverse events, including falls, driving accidents, and fatal overdoses. The more alcohol a patient consumes, the greater the risk for alcohol and medication interactions. Universal screening, careful prescribing choices, and patient education can help minimize the risks of combining alcohol with certain medications.

Is It Risky To Drink While You’re on Medication?

Mixing any of the antidepressants below with alcohol can also increase feelings of depression or hopelessness. Here’s a list of medications that can negatively interact with alcohol along with descriptions of what those interactions may look like. In addition, the older we get, the more likely we are to be taking one or more medications that could interact with alcohol. And remember, alcohol and medicines can have harmful interactions even if they are separated and taken at different times of the day. Energy drinks mixed with alcohol can lower the feeling of intoxication, which can lead to excessive drinking and alcohol-related injuries.

  • Small amounts of alcohol can make it dangerous to drive, and when you mix alcohol with certain medicines you put yourself at even greater risk.
  • If you are not sure if it is safe to drink alcohol while you are taking medication, call a local pharmacy or talk to your doctor about the potential interactions.
  • Medications that are prescribed to treat nausea can make you feel drowsy, dizzy, and may impair your motor control—symptoms that can also be caused by alcohol.
  • Alcohol and medicines can interact harmfully even if they are not taken at the same time.
  • These observations imply that ALDH2 plays a crucial role in maintaining low acetaldehyde levels during alcohol metabolism.