Parents’ Watchful Eye Does Keep Kids From Drugs, Alcohol

Combining alcohol with medications used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) can cause dizziness, fainting, drowsiness, and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). If you take medications for arthritis, it is important to know that mixing them with alcohol can increase your risk for stomach ulcers and bleeding in the stomach, as well as liver problems. It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive and may not include every medication you are taking. If you are not sure if you can safely drink alcohol while taking a certain medication, read the label carefully and consult with a pharmacist or doctor.

Related Health Topics

Working to stop alcohol use to improve quality of life is the main treatment goal. When you have alcohol use disorder, just thinking about alcohol triggers a pleasurable response in the brain. Combining alcohol with Concerta, Ritalin, or Focalin can worsen concentration. Adderall, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse can increase a person’s risk for heart problems. In older adults especially, alcohol use may increase the risk for falls, serious injury, and disability related to balance problems. More resources for a variety of healthcare professionals can be found in the Additional Links for Patient Care.

  1. Combining alcohol with some medicines can lead to falls and serious injuries, especially among older people.
  2. Mixing isoniazid and ketoconazole with alcohol can also cause liver damage.
  3. You may be able to consume a limited amount safely, as long as you follow certain rules (for example, waiting at least four hours after taking your daily dose before having an alcoholic drink).
  4. The effectiveness of oral contraceptives (and other forms of hormonal birth control) isn’t affected by alcohol, so it’s OK to enjoy a drink here and there when taking the pill.
  5. Stopping and starting your medications can make your depression worse.

Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder

In some cases, mixing alcohol with medications can lead to an overdose or alcohol poisoning—both of which are potentially life-threatening medical emergencies. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Data sources include Micromedex (updated 6 May 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 6 May 2024), ASHP (updated 10 Apr 2024) and others. Alcohol and medication side effects may be especially prevalent in women.

Older Adults

These medications should be avoided in patients with a history of opioid abuse or other substance abuse. Benzodiazepines can slow or stop your breathing, especially if you have recently used an opioid medication or alcohol. Many anxiety drugs have central nervous system depressant activity and interact with alcohol, so it is important to understand your risks. A wide variety of medications from different classes, such as antidepressants or benzodiazepines, are used to treat the various anxiety disorders. Many drugs in this class are used for the short-term (7-10 days) treatment of insomnia. You should not drink alcohol while taking benzodiazepines, as this class of medication can increase the effects of alcohol.

Checking alcohol-medication interactions

Zhang also said healthcare institutions should look to leverage technology to support adoption of appropriate standards. In other words, if teens know their parents are keeping track of them, that might be enough to keep many from drinking or taking drugs, Pelham said. On the other hand, other kids said there were times in the past month when they had a chance to drink or use drugs, but they chose not to out of fear their folks would find out, results show.

Fatal alcohol-related injuries tend to occur in relatively younger age groups. Treatment for alcohol use disorder can vary, depending on your needs. Treatment may involve a brief intervention, individual or group counseling, an outpatient program, or a residential inpatient stay.

Because the body’s ability to break down alcohol worsens with age, alcohol stays in the body longer. Older people are also more likely to be prescribed medication that interacts with alcohol in the first place. Treatment for polysubstance (multiple drug) addiction is available on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. If you’re concerned about your alcohol use, you may benefit from substance abuse counseling and treatment programs that can help you overcome your misuse of alcohol. Joining a support group or a 12-step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous may help.

Three medications are currently approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce their drinking and prevent relapse. They are prescribed by a primary care physician or other health professional and may be used alone or in combination with counseling. Residential famous alcoholics you never knew about treatment programs typically include licensed alcohol and drug counselors, social workers, nurses, doctors, and others with expertise and experience in treating alcohol use disorder. Two other drugs, gabapentin and topiramate, also interact with GABA and glutamate systems.

Drinking alcohol while taking medicines can intensify these effects. 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. Medications typically are safe and effective when used appropriately. Your pharmacist or other health care provider can help you determine which medications interact harmfully with alcohol. This pamphlet lists medications that can cause harm when taken with alcohol and describes the effects that can result.

There is a substantial risk for a drug interaction if you drink alcohol (ethanol) while taking a medication for sleep, and some interactions can be very dangerous or even deadly. Always review any possible drug interactions with your doctor and pharmacist. Drinking alcohol with medications can also cause health problems or death.1  Always check with your healthcare provider before drinking while taking prescription medicine. However, even medications that don’t require a prescription can be unsafe when mixed with alcohol.

The lists presented in this review do not include all the medicines that may interact harmfully with alcohol. To more closely review specific interactions, visit the Interaction Checker and speak with your doctor or pharmacist. It is alcohol and diabetes known that certain over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and herbal medicines can cause important interactions. It’s important to check for alcohol interactions with these groups just as you would with any other medication.

It’s possible that if you use them together, antibiotics may be less effective at clearing up the infection that you are being treated for. Antipsychotics may be prescribed for people with conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative alcohol-induced blackouts blackout drunk alcohol blackouts medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Cough syrup and laxatives may have some of the highest alcohol concentrations. The study focused on younger teens who were not heavy substance users.

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