Alcohol and Medication


If you’re taking medication, you should ensure you consider how alcohol and drugs could interact. Some drugs come with a warning about mixing them with alcohol and any advice related to this should always be followed.

Some drugs, when mixed with alcohol, can lead to vomiting, light-headedness and mental confusion. In addition, some over-the-counter drugs, even herbal treatments, can react badly when mixed with alcohol.  You should always ask your GP or pharmacist if you’re going to drink alcohol whilst on a certain medication. If in any doubt, avoid alcohol.

Alcohol and many pharmaceuticals alike can cause drowsiness, especially when mixed. This can reduce concentration levels and disrupt cognition. These issues are especially pertinent for anyone operating machinery or driving as there is the risk of accidents, crashes and falls.

Remember, too, that many medicines contain alcohol. Examples of those that do include cough mixtures and laxatives.

Women may be more at risk from the effects of alcohol and drug mixing because their bodies break alcohol down more slowly. This also applies to elderly people. Elderly people are often more likely to be prescribed medication too so they should be aware of the implications of drinking alcohol.

In some cases medication is prescribed to help alcoholics stop drinking. It works to moderate cravings and minimise withdrawal symptoms. Such drugs need to be prescribed by a medical professional.

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