Look Out For This Dangerous Combo
Over 60% of Americans take medication for various reasons. Some are supplements, and others are OTC or prescription drugs for various illnesses. Whatever the reason, all medication ingested orally has to go through the bloodstream to work effectively. The effectiveness of those drugs can change significantly with alcohol use. Some combinations can be dangerous and even deadly.
The effects of alcohol and medication
Like oil and water, alcohol and medication do not mix. Consuming alcohol, especially in excess, impacts the heart, liver, and pancreas. Alcohol also weakens the immune system and can even affect brain function. At the core, alcohol is a drug. When combined with other drugs:
- Alcohol can amplify the side effects of prescription and OTC drugs.
- Alcohol can reduce the effects needed for relief.
- There can be potentially life-threatening repercussions.
There are several different combinations that doctors and pharmacists alike do not recommend, covering almost all ailments. These 3, in particular, could be deadly.
1. Prescription opioids
Millions of Americans manage pain, and some need more potent prescription opioids like oxycodone. Unfortunately, research shows that over 4 million Americans misuse opioids. Mixing opioids with alcohol, even a tiny amount, can be particularly deadly. Both alcohol and opioids impact the central nervous system and heart. The combination can slow breathing to the point of suffocation. The heart rate can also slow down, causing a heart attack or stroke. Added side effects can increase addiction and dependence. Practice care when taking opioids and avoid all alcohol consumption.
2. Blood clot medications
Blood clot medication, also known as blood thinners, helps with the regular flow of blood through arteries and veins. The drug can also prevent existing clots from growing. With alcohol, there is a possibility of more blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Alcohol can also change the blood flow, which can cause internal bleeding or excessive bleeding after an injury.
3. Angina medication
After physical exertion or stress, some people can experience chest pain. Angina, a type of pain when there is a lack of oxygen to the heart, can be referred to as ischemic chest pain. To treat angina, some doctors will recommend the medication nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin can help with blood flow, but when combined with alcohol, there can be dangerous effects. Common symptoms include arrhythmia, lightheadedness, and low blood pressure. Look for these signs and seek medical help immediately.
Don’t risk it
Drinking while taking simple medications may not feel like a big deal. But even a glass of wine in a social setting while on some medications could be dangerous. Most drugs have warnings on the label, so make sure to check before heading out for some fun with friends or having a beer with dinner. It would be best if you spoke with a pharmacist first. Pharmacists have extensive knowledge of how drugs interact with the body, with other drugs and alcohol. Keep your health in mind and refrain from alcohol consumption while on medication.