Medicines That Interact With Alcohol

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Topic Overview

Many medicines interact with alcohol. This includes both prescription medicines and ones you buy over the counter. For example, if you drink while you take a diabetes medicine such as insulin or sulfonylureas, such as glipizide and glyburide, it could cause very low blood sugar levels. If you drink while you take medicine for heartburn, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac), it could cause a fast heartbeat.

Common medicines that interact with alcohol include:

  • Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol).
  • Antibiotics.
  • Antihistamines.
  • Tranquilizers.
  • Aspirin and other medicines to prevent clotting of blood. (These are called anticoagulants.)
  • Some medicines to treat depression.
  • Medicines to treat diabetes.

If you are taking any medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you can safely drink alcohol.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction

Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015