Dr. Gregory Smith, author of “The American Addict” and a noted pain management specialist spoke with Newsmax Health which compiled a list of the most common drugs that don’t mix with alcohol:
1. Pain meds, sedatives, and sleeping pills. Some examples are Percocet, Vicodin, Demerol, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Ambien, and Lunesta. As Smith points out, the side effects include drowsiness, impaired motor control, memory lapses, difficulty breathing and in rare cases, serious harm or death.
2. Arthritis meds. Examples include Celebrex, Naprosyn and Voltaren. Potential reactions include ulcers, stomach bleeding, liver damage, and with Celebrex, increased risk of cardiovascular events.
3. Blood clot meds. Coumadin may react with alcohol to increase the risk of internal bleeding, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The combination can also have the opposite effect causing blood clots, stroke or heart attack, says Dr. Amy Tiemeier, associate professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. “Even social drinkers should be very careful when taking Coumadin,” she tells Newsmax Health.
4. Antibiotics. Zithromax, Flagyl, and Nizoral are examples of medications that when mixed with alcohol, can cause rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure, stomach pain, and vomiting. Alcohol can also increase the side effects of these medications, such as upset stomach and dizziness, and slow down your recovery according to the Mayo Clinic.
5. Diabetes meds. Examples are Glucotrol, Glynase, Micronase, and Diabinese. Alcohol can cause blood sugar levels to fall dangerously low and result in a “flushing reaction” that involves nausea, vomiting, headaches and a racing heartbeat, says Smith.
OVER THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS
6. Nonprescription pain meds. Common culprits are Tylenol, Aleve, Advil, Excedrin, and Motrin. Potential reactions with alcohol include upset stomach, bleeding and ulcers, rapid heartbeat, and liver damage — especially with Tylenol and Excedrin, which are acetaminophen.
7. Allergy and cold meds. Combining alcohol with products like Benadryl, Claritin, Claritin-D, Dimetapp, Zyrtec, Sudafed Sinus and Allergy, Tylenol Allergy Sinus, and Tylenol Cold & Flu can cause increased drowsiness, dizziness, and potential liver damage, if the product contains acetaminophen. The NIAAA recommends that you read the label on the medication bottle to find out exactly which ingredients are present and ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about how alcohol might interact with a drug you are taking.
8. Cough Syrup. Robitussin Cough and Robitussin A-C may cause drowsiness and dizziness when mixed with alcohol. Remember that certain cough medications contain up to 10 percent alcohol, according to the NIAAA, so imbibing in addition to taking the drug can greatly increase the risk of those side effects. “Patients who combine the two should never drink and drive or operate heavy machinery afterward,” says Tiemeier. Cough medicine may also contain codeine, a narcotic, which results in double the trouble.