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Ethyl Alcohol/Benzodiazepines

This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking or discontinuing any drug or commencing any course of treatment.

Medical warning:

Serious. These medicines may interact and cause very harmful effects. Contact your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) for more information.

How the interaction occurs:

Alcohol may allow more of your benzodiazepine to reach your brain, resulting in increased effects.

What might happen:

Using benzodiazepines with alcohol may lead to decreased mental and motor function. Symptoms may include feelings of depression or drowsiness. Increased side effects such as dizziness, slow and difficult breathing, confusion, and/or loss of coordination may also occur.

What you should do about this interaction:

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking your benzodiazepine. Alcohol is also contained in many medicines. Discuss the amount of alcohol in your medicines with your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist).If you notice any new or worse side effects, contact your healthcare professional. Your doctor may want to change your medicines.Your healthcare professionals may already be aware of this interaction and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.


1.Hayes SL, Pablo G, Radomski T, Palmer RF. Ethanol and oral diazepam absorption. N Engl J Med 1977 Jan 27;296(4):186-9.

2.Thiessen JJ, Sellers EM, Denbeigh P, Dolman L. Plasma protein binding of diazepam and tolbutamide in chronic alcoholics. J Clin Pharmacol 1976 Jul; 16(7):345-51.

3.Desmond PV, Patwardhan RV, Schenker S, Hoyumpa AM. Short-term ethanol administration impairs the elimination of chlordiazepoxide (Librium inverted question mark) in man. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1980 Oct;18(3):275-8.

4.Sellers EM, Naranjo CA, Giles HG, Frecker RC, Beeching M. Intravenous diazepam and oral ethanol interaction. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1980 Nov; 28(5):638-45.

5.Greenblatt DJ, Laughren TP, Allen MD, Harmatz JS, Shader RI. Plasma diazepam and desmethyldiazepam concentrations during long-term diazepam therapy. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1981 Jan;11(1):35-40.

6.Linnoila M, Saario I, Maki M. Effect of treatment with diazepam or lithium and alcohol on psychomotor skills related to driving. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1974 Aug 23;7(5):337-42.

7.Lehmann W, Liljenberg B. Effect of temazepam and temazepam-ethanol on sleep. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1981;20(3):201-5.

8.Ochs HR, Greenblatt DJ, Arendt RM, Hubbel W, Shader RI. Pharmacokinetic noninteraction of triazolam and ethanol. J Clin Psychopharmacol 1984 Apr; 4(2):106-7.

9.Morris HH 3rd, Estes ML. Traveler's amnesia. Transient global amnesia secondary to triazolam. JAMA 1987 Aug 21;258(7):945-6.

10.Dorian P, Sellers EM, Kaplan HL, Hamilton C, Greenblatt DJ, Abernethy D. Triazolam and ethanol interaction: kinetic and dynamic consequences. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1985 May;37(5):558-62.

11.Subhan Z, Hindmarch I. The effects of midazolam in conjunction with alcohol on iconic memory and free-recall. Neuropsychobiology 1983; 9(4):230-4.

12.Hindmarch I, Subhan Z. The effects of midazolam in conjunction with alcohol on sleep, psychomotor performance and car driving ability. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1983;3(5):323-9.

13.Aucamp AK, Weis OF, Muller FO, Gill CE, Malan J. Oxprenolol plus ethanol causes no central nervous system depression--a comparison with lorazepam plus ethanol. S Afr Med J 1984 Sep 22;66(12):445-6.

14.Ascione FJ. Benzodiazepines with alcohol. Drug Ther 1978 Jan;8:58-71.

15.Harvey SC. Hypnotics and sedatives. 1980;339-75.

16.Van Gorder PN, Hoffman WE, Baughman V, Albrecht RF, Miletich DJ, Guzman F, Cook JM. Midazolam-ethanol interactions and reversal with a benzodiazepine antagonist. Anesth Analg 1985 Feb;64(2):129-35.

17.Divoll M, Greenblatt DJ, Lacasse Y, Shader RI. Benzodiazepine overdosage: plasma concentrations and clinical outcome. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1981;73(4):381-3.

18.USFood and Drug Administration (FDA). Docetaxel: Drug Safety Communication - May Cause Symptoms of Alcohol Intoxication. available at: MedicalProducts/ucm402106.htm June 20, 2014.

Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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