Drinking alcohol can be a deadly habit in many different ways. One of the least commonly mentioned dangers of drinking alcohol is when mixing it with medications. Whether prescription drugs or over the counter, some medicines are extremely dangerous when mixed with alcohol. Sometimes it is due to the amount of alcohol involved, and sometimes it is due to interaction issues. Alcohol has always been known to be dangerous when mixed with driving or being consumed in large quantities. Just like most alcohol related dangers, the more you drink with medicines, the more risks you are taking with your health.
Here are some medicines that are known to be dangerous mixed with alcohol, along with what they might do to you.
Note: Consult your doctor before you mix any medicine with alcohol, including over the counter medicines.
Ibuprofen – Alcohol is dangerous with Ibuprofen for a number of potential reasons. First of all, alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and cause bleeding problems, and Ibuprofen can multiply that risk. Likewise, alcohol can lower the amount of platelets in your system, which help your blood to clot. Bleeding is the primary risk here.
Acetaminophen – Most people know that alcohol is dangerous to the liver and toxic. Acetaminophen can also be toxic to the liver. Adding high levels of both at the same time can be dangerous.
Aspirin – Like Ibuprofen, Aspirin can be a bleeding risk when mixed with alcohol. When you take aspirin along with alcohol, you can become intoxication can be amplified to a dangerous level as well.
Sedatives – When you drink along with sedatives, you are likely to become much more intoxicated much more quickly. The danger is going unconscious and respiratory distress.
While these are only a few of the dangerous interactions that can happen, there are literally thousands of other potential interactions. One other especially risky thing is that alcohol can counteract important medicines’ effects. If you are taking anticonvulsants for example, drinking could cause them to not work or even increase the effects of the medicine. This can be deadly in many cases and should always be avoided.
Alcohol is not a good idea for a number of reasons if you are taking prescription medicines. Virtually all medicines will have some type of effects changed by the use of large amounts of alcohol. Some medicines are safe with low levels of alcohol use, but you should always check with your doctor before assuming that drinking is safe.
NIAAA Publications – Mixing Alcohol with Medicines