drugs and alcohol02 resizedThe mixing of alcohol with certain prescription medications, over-the-counter medications(OTC’s), or herbal products may lead to serious interactions and side effects.  

This consumption of alcohol can be intentional or unintentional. Alcohol can be an ingredient in products such as mouthwash, cough/cold/allergy medications, anti-diarrheals, laxatives, liquid pain relievers, dental products, and liquid vitamin preparations; always check the product’s label or ask your pharmacist. Some contain alcohol and others do not.

Below is an overview of certain classes of medications and the possible effects of combining them with alcohol.  

The list is not meant to cover every type of drug interaction or side effect, and only certain medications in each category may result in these reactions.  

Always check with your doctor or pharmacist when drinking alcohol with any medication you are taking.

Certain heart medications: rapid heartbeat/sudden change in blood pressure
Blood thinning medications: internal bleeding
Sleeping medications: impaired breathing, impaired motor control, unusual behavior
Tylenol (acetaminophen): possible liver damage if recommendations are exceeded
Antidepressants: feel more depressed, hopeless, anxious
Antibiotics: serious nausea and vomiting reaction, headache, rapid heart rate.

The elderly population is at greater risk for experiencing side effects or interactions when consuming alcohol with certain medications. As a person ages, their ability to break down or metabolize the alcohol often slows down.

This could result in alcohol remaining in a person’s system for a longer period of time. Drug levels of certain medications remain relatively constant throughout the day, so separating the taking of medications with the drinking of alcohol by a few hours is not enough to eliminate the danger. In addition, never skip a dose of medication with the intention of being able to have alcohol.

If you are unsure if you can drink alcohol with certain medications, always check with a healthcare professional.

Lori Samer, RPh. is a consultant pharmacist in the Lehigh Valley and owner of Medication Matters, LLC.  We are a consulting service that specializes in addressing the challenges of taking medications correctly and optimizing the effectiveness of your medications.  

We review your medication list, address concerns about your medications and identify medication related problems all in an effort to improve your health and provide peace of mind.

To learn more, please visit our website at www.medicationmattersllc.com For further information please email Lori at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 484-268-8237.

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