How Alcohol Affects Other Medications That We Take
Avoid Alcohol. This warning has undoubtedly appeared on medications you have used. The threat is actual. When certain drugs are taken with alcohol, these side effects can include headaches, dizziness, fainting, and loss of coordination. Additionally, it can increase your risk of experiencing internal bleeding, cardiac issues, and breathing difficulties. In addition to these risks, alcohol can alter the effects of a prescription, rendering it ineffective or even hazardous to your body. Many medications that are available "over-the-counter," that is, without a prescription, can interact with alcohol in ways that you may not have realized. When taken with alcohol, certain herbal medicines can even cause harm.
If you’re taking medication, always consult with your doctor or pharmacist if you think you might want to drink any alcohol. Alcohol interacts with some medications. Depending on what you’re taking and your health condition, drinking can make medication less effective, or lead to dangerous health consequences.
There are also medications that don’t have harmful interactions with alcohol – but it’s important to check before consuming alcohol, to ensure you’re not putting yourself at risk.
Effects of alcohol on specific medications
Certain antibiotics have an impact on how the body absorbs alcohol. After consuming even a modest amount of alcohol, this can have very unpleasant and occasionally deadly effects, such as violent vomiting and elevated body temperature. Therefore, before beginning your course of antibiotics, always confirm with your doctor or pharmacist whether it is okay to take even one drink. Different drugs are metabolized and absorbed by your body in various ways. When you consume alcohol at the same time as your body is breaking down medication, it may take longer for the medication to take effect in some situations and less time in others. It's also well known that older folks are more susceptible to negative side effects from drinking while taking medicine.
Alcohol should never be used while taking specific antibiotics. This is due to the fact that some antibiotics prevent the body from properly metabolizing alcohol, which can have major adverse effects such nausea, vomiting, skin flushing, an increased heartbeat, dizziness, and sleepiness. Metronidazole and tinidazole are two instances of antibiotics that should never be taken with alcohol, but there are additional examples as well. Because of this, it's crucial to read the leaflet and, if necessary, consult your pharmacist or doctor before consuming any alcohol while taking antibiotics. Additionally, you could be told to abstain from alcohol for up to 72 hours after the course. A number of other antibiotics also have interactions with alcohol that prevent them from functioning correctly. If you are taking these, it is crucial to abstain from drinking so the medication can function as intended.
While taking a typical dose of the majority of over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, drinking within the USA low risk drinking limits is unlikely to result in any issues. But you should always read the medication's booklet and, if necessary, get additional guidance from your pharmacist or doctor. For instance, certain over-the-counter painkillers are more potent than others, and some cold and flu medications also contain sedatives that can be harmful when used with alcohol. When taking prescription-only opioids like tramadol, gabapentin, codeine, or other morphine-like medications, alcohol should be avoided. Alcohol consumption while taking these drugs might be risky because it can cause extreme sleepiness and other side effects like nausea.
Please remember to always ask your doctor or other healthcare provider for advice before drinking alcohol if you are on any medications. Additionally, let them know if any side effects from your medicine occur.