The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Prescription Drugs

According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center, approximately 7 in 10 Americans are taking a minimum of one prescription drug on a regular basis. As much as half are taking two or more. When taken as directed, these medications can provide symptomatic relief and in some cases, life-saving benefits. But when combined with alcohol, the effects can be detrimental.

Combining Prescription Drugs and Alcohol

mixing alcohol and precription drugs is extremly dangerousEvery day, patients find themselves in the emergency room after consuming prescription drugs and alcohol. Some are recreational users who have consumed alcohol with medications in the past without serious consequences. Others are patients who regularly take prescriptions as prescribed by a doctor but accidently consumed them with alcohol. Regardless of whether a drug is prescribed or abused illegally, it can leady to very dangerous consequences in some people.

Not Everyone Reacts the Same

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know exactly how one’s body will respond to mixing alcohol with prescription drugs. The mixture can prove to be very dangerous or even fatal, depending on the drug and dosage amounts.

Three ways that negative drug and alcohol interactions occur:

  1. Abusively, such as when alcohol is intentionally consumed in tandem with prescription drugs to achieve a ‘high’
  2. Unintentionally, such as when an alcohol-containing medication is taken at the same time as another medication
  3. Accidentally, such as when a person who has been legally prescribed a medication drinks alcohol without noting the potential consequences

Most RX Drugs DO NOT Mix With Alcohol Well

Several different types of prescription medications can become harmful if combined with alcohol. The result is often severe depression of the central nervous system – much more in fact than would be achieved taking either the medication or alcohol alone.Examples of RX medications that are dangerous to mix with alcohol include those used to treat allergies, cough, anxiety, pain, sleep disorders, depression, and more.

Even small amounts of alcohol intensify side effects and can lead to:

  •     Nausea and vomiting
  •     Blood pressure fluctuations
  •     Lightheadedness and fainting
  •     Headaches
  •     Inability to concentrate or safely perform normal activities, such as drive a car
  •     Breathing impairment
  •     Organ damage
  •     Heart problems, including cardiac arrest
  •     Death

Talk With Your Doctor

There are hundreds of drugs that can interact negatively with alcohol. If you are taking a medication that was prescribed to you by a physician, always talk with your doctor or pharmacist before consuming it with alcohol.Remember that alcohol may be an ingredient in other medications, such as cough syrups and some pain relievers. Read all warning labels and consult with a physician before combining them with other medications.

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