Is it Dangerous to Mix Alcohol and Medications?

Alcohol often has harmful interactions with over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and even some herbal remedies. Combining alcohol interactions may result in such problems as vomiting and nausea, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and fainting. It can also increase the risk of such complications as depression, impaired breathing, and internal bleeding.

Alcohol interactions can also decrease the effectiveness of medications or even render them useless. In other cases, alcohol interactions can result in drugs being harmful or toxic to the body. 

Even small amounts of alcohol can have an adverse effect on hundreds of common medications, which is why it’s important that you observe warning labels. You should also ask your pharmacist or doctor if it’s safe to combine alcohol with your medications and herbal remedies.

An Increasing and Significant Danger

The CDC claims that around two in three American adults over 18 at least occasionally use alcohol. Around 51 per cent of these are current regular drinkers, which means they’ve drunk at least 12 drinks in the past 12 months, and around 13 per cent drink infrequently, which means 11 drinks or less in the same period.

There’s also a prevalent use of both prescription and non-prescription drugs, along with herbal remedies. Partly due to the obesity problem, Americans are taking more drugs in order to control such chronic conditions as elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. As chronic conditions increase with age, older Americans are more likely to be on prescription medications – often up to 10 a day – many of which likely have an adverse reaction when combined with alcohol.

As the population gets older, problems related to combining medications and alcohol are bound to increase.

Older Americans at Special Risk

In older Americans especially, alcohol may increase the risk for serious injury, falls, and disability associated with balance problems. Using alcohol may worsen or trigger certain medical conditions.

While the majority of people over 65 drink less than the recommended maximum amount, drinking is nevertheless regarded as being harmful for many of them, due to their medications, medical problems, and general conditions.

Drugs Associated With Alcohol Interactions

There are hundreds of common over-the-counter and prescription drugs that may adversely interact with alcohol. These medications are for conditions such as flu, colds, and allergies, blood clots, infections, high blood pressure, and sleep problems.

Examples of prescription drugs associated with serious interactions with alcohol are heart medications.They can result in rapid heartbeat, along with sudden changes in blood pressure. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are capable of increasing the risk of ulcers and stomach bleeding, strokes, and heart attacks. Sleep medications can result in unusual behavior, motor control, drowsiness, and impaired breathing. Blood-thinning medications can result in internal bleeding. 

Among the most common causes of serious liver damage, which include some cases that require a liver transplant. Is the combination of alcohol and the pain reliever acetaminophen. Which is found in some prescription drugs. As well as being available over the counter under the name Tylenol. Other serious alcohol interactions are associated with over-the-counter antihistamines. Along with herbal remedies like lavender, valerian, chamomile, St John’s wort, and kava kava.

Guidelines for the Prevention of Alcohol Interactions

While the majority of drugs are effective and safe when used as directed, you should absolutely read the warning labels on any medication you take. Most common pain medications – along with allergy, cough, and cold medications – contain multiple ingredients that can adversely interact with alcohol.

If you’re unsure whether it’s safe to combine alcohol with a medication – whether it’s a pain killer, online viagra tablets Canada, or anything else – avoid consuming alcohol until your pharmacist or doctor has informed you that it’s safe to mix the two.

Wrap Up

There are two primary reasons why patients are advised by doctors to avoid drinking with certain medications. 

Alcohol can have a sedative effect, and when drunk with a medication that also has a sedative effect. Can lead to drowsiness or sleepiness that impairs your ability to operate or drive machinery. It can also induce a deep sleep and make it difficult for you to wake up.

Heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to changes in your liver function. That means you may not absorb your medication as well as you should. And so the medication might not work properly, or there might be more chance of you experiencing side effects.

Individual differences in lifestyle, genetics, and body weight can also have an effect on how medications may interact with alcohol.



Dean Kaplan
Dean Kaplan
Dean Kaplan is president of The Kaplan Group, a commercial collection agency specializing in large claims and international transactions. He has 35 years of manufacturing, international business leadership and customer service experience. Today, he provides business planning, training and consultation to a variety of global companies.

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