Alcohol is also known by its chemical name which is ethanol. It is a psychoactive substance which is an active ingredient in drinks like beer, distilled spired also known as hard liquor and wine. Alcohol has been known to have harmful interactions with many prescription medications, and also some OTC (over-the-counter) drugs, and also some herbal remedies.
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One should not take any form of medication if you have consumed alcohol. Alcohol dealings with medications may many cause problems such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abnormal behaviour
- Loss of coordination
Mixing alcohol with any type of medications increases the risk of complications like:
- Heart problems
- Liver damage
- Internal bleeding
- Impaired breathing
In many cases, alcohol interactions have decreased the efficiency of the medications or render them useless. And in some other cases, alcohol interactions make drugs harmful or even toxic to the body.
If alcohol is consumed in small amounts, it can also intensify the side effects of medication. These are drowsiness, light-headedness and sleepiness. This can interfere with the ability to operate any machinery or concentration or drive a vehicle and this can lead to some serious or fatal accidents. This is because alcohol interacts with most of the commonly used medications. It is very important to note the warning levels and also to ask your doctor or pharmacist. Most of the doctors will advise you not to use alcohol with any medicines – herbal or non-herbal.
People taking painkillers or sedative drugs such as diazepam or valium should avoid the consumption of alcohol. People using anti-depressants such as Prozac or fluoxetine should avoid alcohol altogether.
There are many anti-biotics which basically don’t mix with alcohol. Simple put, it will make you fall sick. But there are also many commonly recommended anti-biotics, which do not cause any problems while drinking as long as your consumption is below the recommended amount.
There are some people who take long-term medications. These kinds of people should not indulge in drinking as the alcohol can make some medicines to become less effective and also the conditions of the person can get worse. Many examples of long-term treatments include medicines for diabetes, epilepsy, or drugs such as warfarin to thin the blood.
Alcohol can improve your immune system is not proven. Drinking alcohol only causes your system to become numb and any the only positive effects are just psychological.
How alcohol can interfere with medication
Consuming alcohol has its effects. The first one is that alcohol acts as a depressant. This means that it affects the way your brain works. It numbs your senses and this is the reason your sense don’t work properly. There are some medicines also that affect the functioning of your brain. If you consume alcohol, then there will be an engagement. Alcohol will increase the sedative effects of causing you to sleep and cause dizziness. This also changes your brain and body in terms of they respond to the medicines. They make it less effective than the usual time. Drugs or medicines likes Valium or Diazepam or any other drug that makes you drowsy or make you sleepy, the alcohol in your body makes the time of reaction decrease and also gets your tired faster than the usual time.
The second effect is that the way drugs gets absorbed by the body and then are broken down in your liver. If your alcohol consumption is more than the usual and you drink it in excessive amounts, then your liver produces more enzymes. This extra enzymes help in getting rid of the alcohol in your body faster. The same enzymes then break down the medication or medicines you have taken and then leave them with no effect at all. One of the prime examples is the medications for epilepsy.
Dangerous for Old aged people & Women
Alcohol is not only dangerous to young people but also of Women who take medications while drinking alcohol are particularly vulnerable for no other reason than their bodies contain less water when compared with men. This makes the blood & alcohol than men so their blood-alcohol content rise more quickly than that of men. This means that if medicines are mixed with alcohol, then they can more damage to a female’s internal organs.
Older people are more affected more than younger people when their medicines are mixed with alcohol. It can lead to serious injuries and lead to falls. Older people usually take more than one medications which makes them more vulnerable as the medicines don’t react well with alcohol.
In accumulation, as we all age, our body’s ability to break down alcohol mostly begins to slow down. If you are still not sure about which medicine can be combined with alcohol, you should at best avoid any kind of alcohol consumption. You should first consult with your doctor and ask him/her if it is safe to mix alcohol & medicine.