A glass of wine. A pint of beer. A shot of whiskey. All seem like fun ideas while in the moment. But did you know that alcohol reacts adversely to many medications? Sometimes it makes the medication not work at all. And some medications can linger in your body for several hours after taking it. That means you may even experience adverse effects if you drink alcohol hours after taking your meds.
There’s a lot of nasty side effects that can happen when you mix. From headaches and nausea, to difficulty breathing and dangerous heart problems. And we’re not just talking about mixing alcohol with prescriptions. Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain relievers also don’t mix.
These are just some of the potential side effects of mixing alcohol and prescription medications:
• Impaired breathing
• Memory problems
• Rapid heartbeat
• Nausea, vomiting
• Changes in blood pressure
So the next time you think you might have a drink or two, take a moment to consider any meds you are taking. Then consider if you really want to deal with the nasty and potentially dangerous side effects.
This is just a partial list of the meds that may not work as intended when combined with alcohol. Be sure to check the label and ask your doctor for guidance.
• Anxiety or depression medication
• Sedatives or sleep aids
• High blood pressure medication
• Allergy medication
• Diabetes medication
• Pain relievers
• Blood thinners
• Heart medication
• Heartburn medication
• High cholesterol medication
• Medication for enlarged prostate
• Epilepsy or seizure medication
• Arthritis medication
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Chances are you’re probably taking a lot more medications than you did when you were in your 30’s, but maybe drinking the same amount or more! Aging increases your sensitivity to the effects of medication and lowers your tolerance to alcohol. If you take multiple medications for chronic health conditions, they’re probably prescribed by more than one doctor. So tell your entire healthcare team if you drink alcohol and about all the medications you take — prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, and herbal supplements.