Everyone knows it’s best not to mix prescription drugs and alcohol.
So, as New Year’s Eve approaches, here are some risks that are known to result from mixing drugs and alcohol, as well as some precautions.
Watch out for drowsiness– Probably the biggest side effect that we see is the potentiation for drowsiness. Antidepressants are an example of a drug that, when mixed with alcohol, can cause extreme drowsiness.
Alcohol can trigger a drug’s side effects: In some cases, the same enzymes are required to metabolize alcohol and certain types of drugs. If enzymes are busy metabolizing alcohol, the drug may stay in the body longer and cause side effects. Drowsiness with antidepressants is a typical example of this.
Conversely, alcohol may make drugs metabolize too quickly: If drug-metabolizing enzymes are activated, they can stay “on” long term even in the absence of alcohol. This can decrease a drug’s availability and diminish its effects.
Alcohol can make a drug toxic: In the case of chronic alcohol consumption, some chemicals in drugs can turn toxic and damage the liver or other organs. Tylenol is the most widely known example.
Ask a pharmacist; read instructions: Contact the pharmacy where you get your medication if you have concerns about drinking alcohol with the drugs you take.
Don’t drink on an empty stomach: People absorb alcohol faster from an empty stomach and slower from having stomach full of food; it doesn’t matter what the food is.