Are there complications with drinking on prescription medications?
The side effects of prescription medication in addition to the effects of alcohol are never a safe combination. Even lesser amounts of alcohol can intensify the effects of the prescription medication, or can combat the medicine, making it ineffective. When a person consumes alcohol while taking prescription medication, they are placing their body at increased risk for liver damage, heart problems, internal bleeding, impaired breathing, and depression. In some instances, alcohol interaction with prescription medication can make the medication toxic or even harmful to the body.
The side effects of mixing alcohol and prescription medications are harmful: nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination are just a few that one may experience. Many medications are comprised of several different ingredients – some of which may react negatively when mixed with alcohol. Heart medications, blood thinners, pain relievers and over-the-counter antihistamines are just a few examples of highly dangerous medicine and alcohol combinations.
Women are at an increased risk for dangerous side effects because when they drink alcohol, the alcohol in their bloodstream typically reaches a higher level than men, even if they are drinking the same amount. This is due to women having generally less water in their bodies than men have. As a result, women are more susceptible to having conditions such as liver damage.
Elderly individuals are also at an increased risk because as we age, the body’s ability to break down alcohol is slower and therefore makes the alcohol more likely to stay in the person’s body longer. Elderly people often take several medications which can also pose a dangerous risk when mixed with alcohol.
When mixing alcohol and medication, both prescribed and over-the-counter, an individual is risking their health. The chemical compounds in medication are unpredictable with alcohol, and if someone doesn’t know what is in their medication, they could seriously damage their body. The best way to take medication is to play it safe – avoid drinking alcohol with it altogether.
It is always recommended that a person speak with a physician or their health care professional to get more information on the medication they are taking and what it is composed of. The more we know about what we are putting into our bodies, the easier it will be to make responsible choices. Remaining actively knowledgeable about the harmful effects of mixing alcohol and medication provides us with an opportunity to educate our loved ones as well so that they are making safe choices.
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