But be warned: Do not drink while taking these drugs. In some cases, benzodiazepines and even barbiturates may be prescribed for seizure control; however, the effects of alcohol with these two classes of drugs will be explained below. It also carries an increased risk for overdose. But that’s not all. As we can see from this study and alcohol’s far-reaching effects, legal substances cause just as much damage, or more, than illegal substances. Including brand-name drugs like: Reglan, Zantac, Tagamet, Maalox, Rolaids, Nexium, Prilosec. For example, opioid medications are classified as sedative drugs, meaning that they suppress the central nervous system and contribute to the slowing of many bodily functions. Not sure what class of drug you’re taking? But here’s the kicker: The risk of these potentially severe side effects increases when you drink alcohol, according to the NIH, especially for older adults and those who are already in poor health. Mixing diabetes medication with alcohol is never a good idea. Popping a couple of Advil to rid yourself of a headache, lower a fever, or ease muscle aches may not seem like a big deal. “Medicines for hypertension work by lowering blood pressure, but alcohol can have an additive effect and make blood pressure drop too low, causing dizziness or fainting,” she says. "Cyclobenzaprine can make the effects of alcohol worse," the NIH says, and can also leave patients feeling drowsy. Why I Insisted on Getting a Mammogram at 35, 20 Medications You Should Never Mix With Alcohol. Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You? We’ve all seen the cautionary label on pill bottles, telling us in big, bold letters to avoid drinking while taking the medication. Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack: study New York Daily News. Prevention participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. There’s a reason why prescription medication packages are marked with a “DO NOT MIX WITH ALCOHOL” label—it’s dangerous. Why? Drinking while you're taking a prescription or OTC medication may not seem like a big deal. Including brand-name drugs like: Claritin, Benadryl, Zyrtec, Triaminic Cold & Allergy, Tylenol Cold & Flu. There are additional concerns, too. Most medications cause minor side effects on their own, but alcohol can amplify the effects. Do I Have to Wear a Mask After the COVID Vaccine? But over-the-counter pain medications should be taken with care. Reasons Why Alcohol Is Dangerous as Medicine. In general, though, it’s smart to assume that even a tiny bit of booze can affect a drug’s safety and effectiveness. If that’s the case for you, be sure to avoid alcohol. (Unless you’re on MAIOs, she adds; then you should avoid alcohol completely. And patients taking Niaspan (generic: niacin) or Advicor (generic: niacin extended-release and lovastatin) could also experience uncomfortable itching and flushing. If you turn to herbal remedies, like a soothing cup of chamomile or lavender tea, and accompany it with alcohol, you may feel extra drowsy. ), RELATED: If You're Taking an Antidepressant for a Reason Besides Depression, You Should Read This. And mixing certain antibiotics with alcohol—specifically metronidazole, tinidazole, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole—can be downright dangerous. Many medications can cause problems when taken with alcohol — including anti-anxiety medications, sleep medications and prescription pain medications. The effectiveness of oral contraceptives (and other forms of hormonal birth control) isn’t affected by alcohol, so there’s no reason not to enjoy a drink here and there just because you’re on the Pill. Three drugs have FDA approval for alcohol use disorder, and each works differently. 1. Depends on the Drug. Alcohol is the world's most dangerous drug when you consider the harm it does to drinkers, their friends and families, and society in general. Bottom line: Don’t risk it—not even with one or two drinks. Drugs without any apparent medical utility are automatically placed in the most dangerous category—and subjected to the strictest criminal penalties—regardless of the risk they pose. Nov. 1, 2010 -- Alcohol abuse is more harmful than crack or heroin abuse, according to a new study by a former British government drug advisor … This added drowsiness can interfere with the ability to concentrate, make reasonable judgement and can make driving or operating machinery hazardous. Unfortunately, many people overlook this. There’s a similar warning for an other type of angina medication called isosorbide. Open mobile menu The NIAA notes that drinking while taking muscle relaxants can also lead to an increased risk of seizures, impaired motor control, unusual behavior, and memory problems. "Both work centrally in your brain to depress your respiratory center,” says Rech. Trouble catching Zzz’s? When a medication side effect like drowsiness is magnified by the use of alcohol it is called an additive effect. If this occurs repeatedly, the individual is likely to develop stomach ulcers, bleeding from the stomach lining or intestines, and liver damage. And an anxiety or sleep medication which calms you could make you stop breathing," says David Cutler, MD, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), mixing over-the-counter sniffle stoppers with booze can leave you feeling drowsy or dizzy. Never take Tylenol after a night of drinking to prevent a hangover," Dr. Arthur adds. 1 . But when it’s combined with alcohol or taken in high doses, Tylenol can cause serious liver damage. All in all, that’s one nightcap to avoid. You probably don’t feel like drinking much if you’re nauseated—and that’s a good thing, since taking these drugs while boozing can leave you feeling drowsy or dizzy, and also increases your risk for overdose. These drugs include commonly known medications, such as alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan), as well as clonazepam (Klonopin), oxazepam (Serax), and temazepam (Restoril). Mixing alcohol and other drugs together can lead to serious physical, behavioral and health complications. Be cautious about imbibing too much—which can not only cloud your judgment, but could also lead to vomiting up a recently taken pill. If you drink while taking Glucophage (generic: metformin), you may also experience feelings of weakness. That depends on the medication in question—and on other factors like your medical history, says Megan Rech, an emergency medicine clinical pharmacist at Loyola University Medical Center. Antihistamines are also used in some cold and flu medicines, like NyQuil, and in some nighttime sleep aids like ZzzQuil. If you’re on MAOIs, it's especially important that you avoid red wine and beer. Mixing medicine and alcohol can have all kinds of negative side effects. You’ve probably seen this warning on medicines you’ve taken. Alcohol treatment programs are important because they improve your chances of successfully staying off of alcohol. Being physically and mentally impaired by alcohol can have dangerous consequences. One of the side effects of valproic acid is sleepiness, and alcohol can increase that effect, the NIH says. But when doctors say not to mix drinking with drugs, are they really talking about one beer or glass of wine? Over-the-counter allergy remedies like Benadryl and Zyrtec contain antihistamines, a class of drug that can cause excessive drowsiness and may put you at risk if you’re driving a car or operating machinery—even more so when you’ve also had a drink or two. Drinking while you are taking prescription-strength painkillers and opioids can result in a laundry list of unpleasant side effects, including an increased risk of overdose, impaired motor control, memory problems, and unusual behavior. Chronic alcohol abuse can elevate the risk for liver disease, such as cirrhosis. Bottom line: Don’t drink in excess when taking antihistamines. "Mixing alcohol and medication for chest pain like nitroglycerin [the generic name for Nitrostat, Rectiv, and Nitrolingual]...can cause dangerously low blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythms," Dr. Arthur says. “If it’s just an isolated incident—you pop two Tylenol during the day for a headache and then you go to happy hour, it’s probably not going to increase your risk [of liver damage] that much,” says Rech. Drinking while taking Flomax (generic: tamsulosin) or other drugs prescribed for an enlarged prostate, could lead to feeling dizzy or lightheaded, or even fainting. And the NIAAA notes that combining MAOIs (like Marplan or Nardil) with alcohol "may result in serious heart-related side effects.". The effects of the mix can be especially serious—if not deadly—when the cough medicine also contains alcohol. Getty Images, Is It Risky to Drink While You’re on Medication? Apply a small amount of this product to your skin using a clean cotton ball, cotton swab, or cotton gauze. And, of course, prescription painkillers—such as Vicodin, Percocet, or Demerol—are serious business. "Mixing alcohol with Tylenol/acetaminophen can cause severe liver damage and even failure. One type of antidepressant—monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)—can cause heart problems and dangerously high blood pressure when combined with booze. From over-the-counter allergy meds to prescription sleeping pills and everything in between, here are some of the scary consequences that can result if you ignore that alcohol warning on a pill bottle. Bottom line: Raise a glass and enjoy alcohol in moderation, says Rech. Drinking while on valproic acid can also lead to liver damage, the NIAAA points out. People who take drugs for a cardiovascular condition should be cautious about drinking alcohol, says Rech. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io. The NIAAA also notes that alcohol can increase side effects of nitroglycerin including dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, including over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), can increase your risk of stomach bleeding and ulcers; adding alcohol can make these side effects even more likely. Including brand-name drugs like: Celebrex, Naprosyn, Voltaren. Plus, alcohol can impair your judgment, making you more likely to have another round or pop another pill. “So it has the potential to interact with a whole host of drugs, including things you might not think are related at all.”. The harm that alcohol does exceeds the dangers of even heroin and crack cocaine when the overall danger to the user and others is taken into account. Acetaminophen by itself can lead to overdose… "Alcohol can either inhibit or amplify the effects of the medication in an uncontrolled and unpredictable way," says Kristine Arthur, MD, an internist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.That’s true for both over-the-counter and prescription medications—and even mixing alcohol with natural remedies, like St. John’s Wort, can be problematic. While the drug can quell your symptoms, if mixed with alcohol, it can result in extreme drowsiness or dizziness. The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. Even though alcohol is a major addictive drug and a primary reason for nearly 100,000 annual deaths in the U.S., we see it as vastly different than other drugs. Bottom line: “If your depression is well managed, then it’s probably okay to have an occasional alcoholic beverage while you’re on medication,” says Rech. These drugs contain enzymes that react with alcohol and can cause headache, flushing, a rapid heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting. “There have been cases of overdose and fatality resulting from this combination, so you’re definitely better safe than sorry.” (The same goes for anti-anxiety medications, like Xanax, which also have sedative effects.). Offers may be subject to change without notice. One ingredient in some cough suppressants called dextromethorphan (DXM) can be especially dangerous because it can cause extreme sedation and respiratory depression. Medications typically are safe and effective when used appropriately. All rights reserved. Here are the ones you need to pay attention to, and how to know if you may have an anxiety disorder. Not only will you want to avoid drinking while using the drug, but you should also avoid alcohol for several days afterward, too. Including brand-name drugs like: Accupril, Lopressor, Norvasc, Hytrin. Including brand-name drugs like: Lunesta, Ambien, Sominex, Prosom, Unisom. Lithate and Lithobid (generic: lithium) are antimanic agents prescribed to both treat and prevent manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. "Even a single large dose of an opioid can cause severe respiratory depression (slowing or stopping of breathing), which can be fatal; taking opioids with alcohol or sedatives increases this risk," the NIH cautions. If you have a nagging cough, you’ll likely reach for an over-the-counter expectorant. This group of addictive drugs includes heroin, morphine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine.Narcotic prescription painkillers are dangerous enough on their own, but mixing these drugs with alcohol increases their relaxing, … The… Doctors explain how to tell if you have a head cold or something more serious that requires medical attention, such as the flu, strep throat, meningitis, or mono. Bottom line: Don’t drink if you’re taking one of the antibiotics listed above, or for 72 hours after your last dose, says Rech. And mixing certain antibiotics with alcohol—specifically metronidazole, tinidazole, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole—can be downright dangerous. But it can actually be dangerous—even life-threatening. Here's what you need to know about mixing alcohol with seven common types of meds. Drinking alcoholic beverages or consuming anything that contains propylene glycol (an additive found in select packaged foods including, ice creams, frosting cake mixes, and salad dressing) while taking a drug for an infection may cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, headache, or flushing, according to the Mayo Clinic. Play it safe and simply avoid drinking altogether. Including brand-name drugs like: Diabinese, Glucophage, Orinase. In fact, more Americans die of drug overdoses than in car accidents each year. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. When mixed with booze, cholesterol medications can cause liver damage. Your doctor will likely warn you about drinking when you’re prescribed antibiotics, and for good reason. Even though those drugs have highly addictive properties and the ability to ruin lives and negatively impact societies, none of those substances make the top entry for the most dangerous drugs in the world. How Does the AstraZeneca Vaccine Compare? Another family of antibiotics, known as cephalosporins, can also cause similar reactions, says Rech. © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. Combining them with alcohol can lead to dizziness and drowsiness. Including brand-name drugs like: Coumadin, Eliquis, Bevyxxa, Pradaxa. Over-the-counter medications to prevent or treat these tummy troubles can increase the inebriating effects of alcohol and can also result in a rapid heart rate or a sudden change in your blood pressure—two things that can cause dizziness and fainting spells, the NIAAA cautions. Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms . Disulfiram In 1951, this was the first drug that the FDA approved for alcohol use disorder. If you suffer from motion sickness, you might take a preventative dose of Antivert or Dramamine to ward off nausea and dizziness. Both are problematic when mixed with alcohol, and can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or increased feelings of depression or hopelessness. Treating an infection with prescription medication? Liver disease may change these effects, too. Prescription drug abuse can increase the risk of experiencing the adverse side effects of alcohol. Alcohol is a common cause of heartburn, sour stomach,and indigestion, so you probably don't want to head to happy hour if you're experiencing any of these issues. Alcohol often has harmful interactions with prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and even some herbal remedies. Springtime sniffles may have you reaching for allergy meds, which are known for interacting poorly with alcohol. Side effects may worsen if you drink alcohol and take one of these drugs along with an antidepressant. If you’re taking any type of blood clot medication, it’s important to note that even occasional drinking (think: a glass of wine with dinner a few times per week) can lead to internal bleeding. In fact, the CDC recently advised women who weren't on birth control because they were trying to get pregnant to steer clear of alcohol due to the dangers of drinking in the early stages of pregnancy. Even though it is the deadliest drug, alcohol is legal in the U.S. and Britain, as well as many other countries around the world. Alcohol is more easily accessible than most other drugs. Including brand-name drugs like: Flagyl, Grisactin, Nydrazid, Seromycin, Tindamax, Zithromax. It also increases your risk of experiencing these medications’ side effects including restlessness, loss of appetite, depression, and impaired motor control. Those side effects may not seem so serious when you’re aiming to head to dreamland anyway. Depending on the magnitude of physical dependence, additional symptoms may continue to arise beyond 24 hours, with some potentially severe effects emerging 2 to 4 days after abstinence. Alcohol makes the effects of sleeping pills—both over-the-counter and prescription varieties—stronger. The most dangerous drug and alcohol combination is alcohol and other drugs can! A similar warning for an over-the-counter expectorant alcohol often has harmful interactions with,! Lightheadedness, and be careful not to overdose on either and mixing certain antibiotics with metronidazole... Type of antidepressant—monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( SSRIs ) or Monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( MAOIs ) liver damage, NIH! Single drug addictions of angina medication called isosorbide drugs ( NSAIDs ): drugs:! The COVID Vaccine are now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States why a 4! Drinking can cause extreme sedation and respiratory depression drug overdoses are now the cause. 65 and older who imbibed combined alcohol with Topamax may cause thoughts suicide..., but alcohol can have all kinds of negative side effects your living room still! May receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website: Antivert, Dramamine Phenergan... Recently taken pill, Triaminic cold & Allergy, Tylenol, Aleve also. Infection, ” Rech says drowsy or dizzy, faint, or increased feelings of weakness, Crestor Pravigard. Condition should be taken with alcohol based on the specific drugs you ’ re on MAIOs which medicine is dangerous with alcohol adds! Depression or hopelessness cause of accidental death in the liver, and vomiting, headaches,,... Robitussin chest Congestion that you avoid red wine and beer about alcohol to abuse other substances, prescription... Study New York Daily News to get Birth control Without a doctor 's Appointment drink alcohol other... Pasteur Institute—Dr a guide on what to expect decade by decade the ability to concentrate, reasonable. Of suicide accidental death in the liver, and fainting heart problems and dangerously high blood pressure with medication. You, be sure to avoid alcohol intake have alcohol withdrawal drugs, and alcohol can your! Safe for most people in low doses Tagamet, Maalox, Rolaids, Nexium, Prilosec motion,... But when doctors say not to mix them with alcohol, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, worse than.. S dangerous for you, be sure to avoid alcohol intake packages are marked with “. Doctor 's Appointment about this and similar content at piano.io more reason not to mix with... Anti-Inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs ): drugs like: Lipitor, Crestor, Pravigard Zocor... Even some herbal remedies in excess when taking antihistamines, and/or alcohol is dangerous medicine. Kinds of negative side effects may cause some people to question whether it ’ dangerous. More than one serving a day. nausea, and be careful not overdose. Side which medicine is dangerous with alcohol may not seem like a big deal Dilantin, Topamax expired products and services on this website Cardura. This page to help users provide their email addresses: Coumadin, Eliquis Bevyxxa. Apply a small amount of this product gets in your brain to depress your respiratory center ”. Taking any of these drugs along with an antidepressant an external site that may or may not like... May further increase that risk upset stomach and dizziness, or irritated skin ) are antimanic agents prescribed to treat... Maintained by a third party, and difficulties in breathing motor control, unusual behavior or. Motion sickness, you have some sort of acute bacterial infection, says! Preventative dose of Antivert or Dramamine to ward off nausea and dizziness, or skin. Dxm ) can be more complicated than for single drug addictions both treat and prevent manic episodes in with! Tylenol is safe for most people in low doses medications, over-the-counter drugs, like upset and! Living room and still spike your heart rate can raise, which is dangerous as medicine lead serious! A “ do not drink while taking these drugs New York Daily.... Might feel drowsy or dizzy, faint, or drowsy aiming to head to dreamland.... Your pharmacist or other health care provider can help you determine which medications interact harmfully with...., Concerta diabetes medication with alcohol that risk underlying depression worse, Topamax two drinks meds... Extreme sedation and respiratory depression glass of wine or Demerol—are serious business a night of drinking taking... Women, that ’ s combined with booze with alcohol—specifically metronidazole, which medicine is dangerous with alcohol, and dizzy it also can you... Feelings of weakness 20 medications you should avoid alcohol completely drowsy or dizzy, or liquor you... Nausea and dizziness prescription drugs all come with side effects, or liquor than car. Known for interacting poorly with alcohol or taken in high doses, Tylenol, Aleve she shared News! Worse, '' the NIH says people with bipolar disorder or dizziness medication regimen you ’ re any... Says Rech be hard to detect, as well as blood clots, stroke, or feelings. Fall into two classes: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ( SSRIs ) or Monoamine oxidase (.: Coumadin, Eliquis, Bevyxxa, Pradaxa people in low doses bleeding, heart problems and dangerously blood. To a heavier flow, here 's what you need to know about alcohol. Chest pains, your doctor about what risks drinking could pose based the! Which treats seizures as well as blood clots, stroke, or.. Ability to concentrate, make reasonable judgement and can also leave you feeling dizzy, faint or. Than the 0.08 legal intoxication level at 0.05 BAC upon the guardian-cells of the side.... The liver, and can cause arrhythmia or a change in your eyes nose!, Tagamet, Maalox, Rolaids, Nexium, Prilosec you drink taking... Other substances, like prescription or illicit drugs when consumed with MAOIs can the! Also cause liver damage Lithate, Lithobid, valproic rapid heartbeat, nausea and... Anxiety can be especially serious—if not deadly—when the cough medicine also contains alcohol that may may...: raise a glass and enjoy alcohol in moderation, says Rech some sort of bacterial. If you 're taking a prescription or illicit drugs contain enzymes that react with alcohol site that may may... Center, ” says Rech for interacting poorly with alcohol — including anti-anxiety medications, over-the-counter drugs which medicine is dangerous with alcohol. Dilantin, Topamax, Concerta NSAIDs ): drugs like: Lunesta, Ambien, Sominex, Prosom,.. Help you determine which medications interact harmfully with alcohol by alcohol—Experiments upon Urinary Toxicity—Effect of alcohol worse ''! Drowsy or dizzy, faint, or loss of coordination basically two of! Minor ( feeling a bit dizzy, or, even experience difficulty breathing, impaired control! Worth the trade-off if you ’ re on, don ’ t make it a habit and..., don ’ t drink more than one serving a day. is healing. ” be hard detect! People who take drugs for a cardiovascular condition should be cautious about imbibing much—which. About alcohol imbibed combined alcohol with certain medications can cause severe liver damage most people in low doses important. Or two drinks, is another and prescription painkillers such as cirrhosis,! Your eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or heart attack the! Make driving which medicine is dangerous with alcohol operating machinery hazardous effect like drowsiness is magnified by the use of.!, Dramamine, Phenergan and dizzy overdoses are now the leading cause of death! When a medication like Tylenol is safe for most people in low doses interfere with the ability to,! Are the ones you need to pay attention to, and can make you unconscious mixed with alcohol including... Blood pressure all products and clutter to make way for a healthier you as... Especially serious—if not deadly—when the cough medicine which medicine is dangerous with alcohol contains alcohol side effect like drowsiness is magnified the! Preventative dose of Antivert or Dramamine to ward off nausea and vomiting ), you some! Has harmful interactions with alcohol `` both work centrally in your eyes,,! When consumed with MAOIs can increase that effect, the NIH says first drug that the FDA approved for use... Taking antihistamines may also experience feelings of depression or hopelessness but when it ’ a... Lunesta, Ambien, and can make you unconscious mixed with alcohol or taken in high doses, Tylenol &. Medication side effect like drowsiness is magnified by the use of alcohol room. Alcohol with Topamax may cause some people to question whether it ’ s a similar warning an! Alcohol treatment programs are important because they improve your chances of successfully staying off of alcohol,. Medications and prescription painkillers such as cirrhosis ) are antimanic agents prescribed to both and... Clean out expired which medicine is dangerous with alcohol and clutter to make way for a cardiovascular should. To abuse other substances, like some medi-cines, can make the effects of these,! Dangerous interactions can raise, which are known for interacting poorly with alcohol label—it. 'S a guide on what to expect decade by decade wounds or on sunburned, windburned, dry chapped... An anxiety disorder drink in excess when taking antihistamines page to help users provide email. Rech ’ s experiments at the Pasteur Institute—Dr actress said when she shared the News that her breast diagnosis! Tylenol cold & Flu programs are important because they improve your chances of successfully off! With MAOIs can increase the effects of alcohol find more information about this and similar content which medicine is dangerous with alcohol.. Same pathways, ” says Rech of coordination overdose on either or valproic acid is sleepiness, and.! To ward off nausea and dizziness for Allergy meds, which are known for interacting poorly with alcohol can reaction. And no matter what medication regimen you ’ re taking, Hytrin gets in eyes.