Alcohol often has harmful interactions with prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and even some herbal remedies. Alcohol interactions with medications may cause problems such as:
Nausea and vomiting
Changes in blood pressure
Loss of coordination
Mixing alcohol and medications also may increase the risk of complications such as:
Medicine interactions. These happen when two or more medicines or herbal supplements mix in a person's body and cause a bad reaction. The symptoms can be severe and may be wrongly diagnosed as a new illness.
Medicine-food interactions. These happen when medicines react with food. Some drugs work best when you take them with food, but others should be taken on an empty stomach. Some medicine-food interactions can cause serious symptoms.
Overmedication. If you take too much of a medicine, it may trigger an adverse reaction. This can especially be a problem for people of small size and older adults. Sometimes the typical adult dose is too much for these people. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
Addiction. Long-term use of some medicines can lead to dependency. You may have a severe reaction if you stop taking the medicine all at once. Find out from your doctor if a medicine may be addictive. To learn more, see the topic Alcohol and Drug Problems.
Decision Points are designed to guide you through key health decisions, combining medical information with your personal information to make a wise health decision. For help in learning the pros and cons of certain medicines, see a list of Decision Points About Medicines.