As the temperature drops and winter arrives, many of us will experience coughs and colds.
But we also want to socialize with our friends and family, which can also mean drinking alcohol.
If you have an illness and are taking medication, it is important to know whether or not it is safe for you to drink alcohol.
When your medicine has been prescribed for you, each packet should be accompanied by a Patient Information Leaflet (PIL).
This helps to detail exactly how you should take the medicine and how often and it is important that you read it carefully before you start taking it.
This is even more important if you plan to consume alcohol, as alcohol can alter your body’s natural state, for example by altering blood pressure, temperature and hydration levels, which can be dangerous when taken with medication.
When it comes to mixing drugs with alcohol, there are certain rules that you should always follow.
For example, you shouldn’t take medicines that make you drowsy, that can affect your blood sugar, or medicines for high blood pressure.
You should also avoid alcoholic beverages if you are prescribed pain relievers – especially opiates, medications for mental disorders, and any medications that are broken down in the liver, as alcohol consumption can reduce breakdown and increase levels. .
This week is Alcohol Awareness Week and pharmacist Scott McDougall, co-founder of The Independent Pharmacy, said there is concern about when patients need to be treated for side effects caused by the mixing of drugs. with alcohol consumption.
He explained, “It is essential that patients take medication doses seriously and follow the advice of their doctor or pharmacist on whether or not they can consume alcohol in addition to their medication.
“Remember, it is always best to treat any medical problem you are facing quickly and effectively with the right medication and following the directions exactly.”
Elderly patients should also take extra precautions and assess their medication needs and alcohol consumption with their GP or pharmacist.
Scott has listed the four most common medications that you should not drink alcohol with, but you should always check the label of any medication prescribed to you.
Propranolol is a beta-blocker drug available only by prescription, used to treat and relieve symptoms of a variety of health conditions, including anxiety, heart problems, and migraines, Scott explains.
“Propranolol is designed to lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, and reduce the strength of each beat.
“Alcohol can lower your blood pressure as well, so mixing propranolol and alcohol is not recommended as it can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, lightheadedness, nausea, lightheadedness, and even fainting.
“Health professionals advise avoiding alcohol when taking propranolol. If you are taking propranolol, talk to your GP or pharmacist to see if you should avoid alcohol completely or if you have. need a unit limit depending on the type of prescription you’re taking, ”he said. added.
It is advisable to avoid drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics, especially if you are unwell, as alcohol consumption can slow the speed of your recovery.
Scott explained, “There are a few antibiotics that require you to completely avoid drinking alcohol when taking them.
“Metronidazole, which is usually prescribed for dental treatment or to clear infected ulcers, and tinidazole, which is often prescribed to clear infections and fight unwanted gut bacteria.
“Combining alcohol with these two antibiotics can have painful side effects, including stomach pain, vomiting, hot flashes, and a fast or irregular heartbeat.”
He added that you should also be wary of linezolid and doxycycline.
However, he added that drinking alcohol is unlikely to cause any problems if you take the most common antibiotics, so check with your doctor or pharmacist when picking up your prescription to see if you are. ‘agreement to drink alcohol in moderation while taking the medicine.
Side Effects You Should Know If You Have Drunk Alcohol With Medications
If you have consumed alcohol while taking additional medication and experienced an adverse reaction, you should see an additional doctor.
Some common reactions include:
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Severe headache
- Blood pressure changes
- Abnormal behavior
- Loss of coordination
3. Medicines for colds and flu
Many people across the UK will now be taking cold and flu medication as they battle the ‘worst cold ever’.
Scott says over-the-counter cold and flu medications can react with alcohol and cause severe drowsiness and dizziness.
He added: “This is especially important if you intend to drive. Of course, you should never drive beyond the legal limit, but drink along with taking cold and flu medicine. (even a single drink) could compromise your usual alertness and reaction time. Both substances can cause drowsiness and lack of concentration. “
4. Heartburn Medication: Zantac
One of the most common over-the-counter medications, heartburn tablets, gels, or liquids should be taken with caution when drinking alcohol, Scott says.
“This is because when mixed with alcohol, some drugs can cause tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) and sudden changes in blood pressure.
“Certain heartburn medications, such as Zantac (ranitidine), can also make the effects of alcohol more intense and affect an individual’s judgment.”
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