Alcohol Interactions With Medications: Effects and Guidelines

The primary bias in risk perception refers to the tendency to overestimate uncommon risks and underestimate common risks. Alcohol and medication can have a harmful interaction even if they’re taken at different times. If you’re at low risk of addiction to alcohol, it may be OK to have an occasional drink, depending on your particular situation, but talk with your doctor.

  • The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
  • Angina (ischemic chest pain) is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.
  • Having an alcoholic drink while you are taking medications to treat prostate conditions can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
  • AAC’s admissions navigators are available 24/7 to discuss your treatment options today.

The potential for a harmful interaction may provide a compelling reason for patients to cut down or quit drinking when warranted (see Core articles on screening and brief intervention). Depending on the type of opioid, they can control pain for up to 12 hours, as they are a time-release drug. Rather than releasing all at the same time, the medication’s effects continue to release over an extended period. We also look at treatment for a person who has taken both alcohol and opioids, treatment options for alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder, and how to find these treatment options.

Health Complications

However, opioids can become addictive, as they produce a euphoric “high” feeling. This can lead to overdose and death if a person takes them regularly for nonmedical reasons. According to the World Health Organization, about 115,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2017.

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Isordil (isosorbide nitroglycerin), often taken for angina (chest pain) or coronary heart disease, can also be dangerous when mixed with alcohol. Side effects can include dizziness and fainting, rapid heartbeat, and a sudden drop in blood pressure. Drinking alcohol with medications can also cause health problems or death.1  Always check with your healthcare provider before drinking while taking prescription medicine. Do not mix alcohol with prescription medications, particularly opioids, as this can lead to slowed breathing, impaired judgement, overdose, and/or death. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when a doctor prescribes them, and a person takes them for a short amount of time.

Side Effects of Alcohol and Medication

These drugs can also make the effects of alcohol more intense, leading to impaired judgment and sedation. If you’re concerned that concurrent use of alcohol and sleeping pills is impacting your health or that of someone close to you, substance pills and alcohol effects abuse treatment programs can help. American Addiction Centers, parent company of, is a nationwide provider of addiction treatment facilities. AAC’s admissions navigators are available 24/7 to discuss your treatment options today.

pills and alcohol effects

Your healthcare provider will most likely start you on a low dose, and slowly increase until the pain is well-controlled. A person can decide on a treatment plan with a health care professional or specialist in addiction and recovery. This may include counseling, medication for the treatment of addiction, and regular visits to a treatment facility or support groups. Taking opioids, such as oxycodone or morphine, in combination with alcohol can have severe consequences and be fatal. Because opioids and alcohol are both depressants, combining them can have a synergistic effect.

Inpatient Treatment

And this risk isn’t just limited to alcohol and recreational drugs ― it also applies to prescription drugs, as well. However, one early study published in 1991 explored the possible effects of consuming alcohol after IV sedation with midazolam-fentanyl. Results of the study found that when participants drank alcohol 4 hours after receiving an IV of midazolam-fentanyl, there was no significant reaction between the two substances.

  • On their own, opioids can cause drowsiness, dizziness, slowed or impaired breathing, impaired motor control, abnormal behavior, and memory loss.
  • Side effects can include dizziness and fainting, rapid heartbeat, and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
  • If you or your loved one are battling an alcohol and/or oxycodone addiction, it is important to seek out treatment.
  • Medications prescribed to lower cholesterol levels (known as statins) can cause flushing, itching, stomach bleeding, and liver damage.
  • Despite the extensive harm caused by drugs and alcohol, the number of deaths is substantially lower than what the public perceives.

Alcohol, like some medicines, can make you sleepy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Small amounts of alcohol can make it dangerous to drive, and when you mix alcohol with certain medicines you put yourself at even greater risk. Combining alcohol with some medicines can lead to falls and serious injuries, especially among older people. Since then, other studies have shown that not only have deaths from illegal fentanyl been on the rise, but it’s also commonly mislabeled and sold as heroin. Another study also found a correlation between a state’s excessive drinking rates and the rate of deaths by opioid overdose. One possible reason for this is that fentanyl is a relatively short-acting sedative, meaning that the effects wear off quickly.

Check with your doctor if you plan to drink following a fentanyl sedation. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body ― heart and blood vessel disease; lung disease; cancer (almost anywhere in your body); and impacts to your bones, eyes, teeth, gums, fertility and pregnancy. Prescriptions may be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

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