How Alcohol Interacts with Medication

It’s important to use all medications as directed. In some cases, you can prevent problems by spacing out your pills and your drinks. But people on some medications should avoid alcohol entirely. Read labels carefully and talk with your doctor about your risks. Don’t drink alcohol until he or she has told you that it’s safe.

How alcohol interacts with your medication will depend on what you’re taking. In some cases, alcohol may increase the side effects, such as drowsiness or dizziness. In other cases, it could make the medications less effective. Some combinations can be dangerous, and some can even be deadly.

Even if you know not to drink alcohol while taking prescription meds, but you may not know that prescription drugs aren’t the only meds that can have adverse effects when mixed with alcohol. Many over-the-counter drugs can be just as harmful!

Below are just a few common medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, and their potential side effects when mixed with alcohol. For more complete information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


*This list is not exhaustive. Visit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website and consult with your doctor for more information

Learn more about harmful interactions between alcohol and medicine.

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