Medications prescribed by your doctor are typically safe and effective when used appropriately. However, when combined with alcohol, they could be harmful. Additionally, over-the-counter (without a prescription) medications and herbal remedies can also have harmful effects when combined with alcohol.
Effects of Alcohol when Combined with Medications
- Alcohol can make you drowsy or lightheaded just as some medicines can.
- Small amounts of alcohol can make it dangerous to drive. Some medications contain up to 10% of alcohol with some of the highest alcohol concentrations in cough syrup and laxatives.
- Alcohol effects women differently making them more susceptible to alcohol-related damage to organs such as the liver.
- Older people face a greater risk for harmful alcohol and medication interactions which can lead to can lead to falls and serious injuries.
- Alcohol and medicines can interact harmfully even if they are not taken at the same time.
So, what do Advil, Robitussin, cholesterol medicines and Ambien all have in common? They’re all medicines you shouldn’t take with alcohol. And there are several other medicines on that list, too.
Commonly Used Medicines (Both Prescription and Over-the-Counter) That Interact with Alcohol
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness; increased risk for overdose.
- Dimetapp Cold & Allergy
- Sudafed Sinus & Allergy
- Tylenol Allergy Sinus
- Tylenol Cold & Flu
Chest Pain (Angina), Coronary Heart Disease
Symptoms: Rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure, dizziness and fainting.
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk for overdose, slowed or difficulty breathing, impaired motor control and memory problems.
Symptoms: Ulcers, stomach bleeding and liver damage.
Symptoms: Possible blood clots, strokes, or heart attacks. Occasional drinking may lead to internal bleeding. Heavier drinking may cause bleeding or may have the opposite side effect.
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness and increase the risk for overdose when combined with alcohol.
- Robitussin Cough
- Robitussin A-C
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness, increase the risk for overdose, increase feelings of depression or hopelessness, impaired motor control, increased alcohol effect, and liver damage.
Symptoms: Abnormally low blood sugar levels, nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure, and weakness.
- Glynase, Micronase
Symptoms: Dizziness, fainting and drowsiness with mixed with alcohol.
Heartburn, Indigestion, Sour Stomach
Symptoms: Rapid heartbeat, sudden changes in blood pressure and an increased alcohol effect.
Symptoms: Liver damage, increased flushing and itching, and increased stomach pain.
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness, increase the risk of seizures, slowed or difficulty breathing, impaired motor control, and memory problems.
Nausea, Motion Sickness
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness, and increased risk for overdose.
Pain (Muscle Ache, Minor Arthritis Pain), Fever, Inflammation
Symptoms: Upset stomach, bleeding and ulcers, liver damage and rapid heartbeat.
Severe Pain, Migraines
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness, increase the risk for overdose, slow difficulty breathing, memory problems and impaired motor control.
- Fiorinal with codeine
Symptoms: Drowsiness, dizziness, increased risk of seizures, unusual behavior and changes in mental health (such as thoughts of suicide).
Symptoms: Drowsiness, sleepiness, dizziness, slowed or difficulty breathing, impaired motor control and memory problems.
To avoid inadvertent mixing of medications with alcohol, remember the following: