Medicines And Alcohol: 9 Drugs That Shouldn’t Be Mixed With Alcohol

Medicines and alcohol

In this article, we’ll discuss some medicines that you shouldn’t mix with alcohol.


A drink or two every now and then is what the doctor advised. But, there are certain exceptions to it. The major one being medications. Certain medications can have dire consequences if they are combined with alcohol.

Alcohol can have several effects on the working of different types of medication. Alcohol is also known to further aggravate the side effects of a drug. While in others, it is known to interfere with the way the drug functions. This may even render the drug ineffective sometimes.

Medicines And Alcohol

Alcohol consumption increases the bio-availability of some medicines. Increased bio-availability implies a higher concentration of the drug in the bloodstream. If you are taking any medications that have a sedative effect, you need to be even more careful with alcohol consumption.

1. Cold And Flu Drugs

It is certainly not a good idea to mix any kind of cold and flu drugs like Tylenol, Allegra, or Benadryl with alcohol. These drugs have sedative properties. This is why you feel drowsy after popping a Tylenol. Additionally, alcohol also has sedative properties, when consumed in a relatively large quantity.

When combined, the two of these can have a serious impact on your cognition and mental abilities. This, in turn, would impact your motor skills. Weak motor skills make easy tasks difficult. This situation is especially dangerous when you’re about to drive. Hence, consider refraining from alcohol when taking any cold and flu medication.

2. Angina Medications

Angina, in simple terms, is chest pain pertaining to a cardiovascular ailment. It is usually caused due to lack of optimum blood flow to the heart. Your doctor might have prescribed you nitroglycerin if you are diagnosed with angina. Common nitroglycerin drugs are Nitrostat, Nitromist, and Nitroquick. A decrease in blood pressure and dizziness are the main side effects of nitroglycerin.

If mixed with nitroglycerin, alcohol can result in severe blood pressure fluctuations. Alcohol is known to cause dizziness and mixing it nitroglycerin could even make you faint. In severe cases, a combination of alcohol and nitroglycerin could result in tachycardia or rapid heartbeat. 

Also Read: Is It Safe To Mix Cialis And Alcohol?

3. Antibiotics

These drugs are, perhaps, mankind’s greatest medical discovery. Antibiotics play a huge role in how we tackle illnesses in this day and age. Research about the interactions between alcohol and antibiotics is neither extensive nor conclusive.

However, existing research proves that alcohol reduces antibiotic effectiveness. Side effects may include tachycardia, nausea, and severe vomiting.

You should vary with consuming alcohol if you’re on antibiotics such as:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Flagyl (metronidazole)
  • Nydrazid (isoniazid)

4. Antidepressants

People diagnosed with conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or bipolar disorder are prescribed antidepressants. Antidepressants are potent medications and have an array of side effects. Thus, people who are on antidepressants should completely avoid alcohol. 

In the case of antidepressants, alcohol has a two-way effect. Firstly, it increases the chances of side effects caused by antidepressants. Secondly, alcohol can worsen the symptoms of depression. This could render your medication ineffective.

Avoid alcohol if you consume any of the following antidepressants:

  • Anafranil (clomipramine)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Effexor (venlafaxine)

5. Anti-Anxiety Drugs

A commonly used medicine that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol.

Also known as benzodiazepines, anti-anxiety drugs work by targeting the GABA receptors in the body. In this way, these drugs regulate the patient’s anxiety and panic attacks. They are also used to treat seizures in some cases. Additionally, alcohol is also known to impact the GABA receptors. 

Mixing the two can be fatal, as it could result in poisoning or even overdose. The combination of benzodiazepines could have adverse effects on the body which include liver damage, blackouts, and slowed breathing. Therefore, you should stay away from liquor if you’re taking drugs like Xanax or Valium. 

6. Arthritis Medications

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) are the usual arthritis prescriptions. Medications of this class are known to cause internal bleeding and liver damage. NSAIDs are pain killers and provide only temporary relief. Therefore, refrain from taking NSAIDs unless necessary.

Consequently, alcohol is known to damage the liver in the long run. People who suffer from stomach ulcers should also avoid alcohol. It can irritate the ulcers further and cause internal bleeding. Therefore, you should not consume alcohol when taking arthritis drugs. Some of the common arthritis drugs are Celebrex (Celecoxib), aspirin, and Advil (ibuprofen).

Also Read: Is It Safe To Mix Sildenafil And Alcohol?

7. Anti-Nausea Medications

Just like cold and flu drugs, anti-nausea medications also make the patient feel drowsy. Anti-nausea drugs are also known as antihistamines. A number of these drugs are also available over-the-counter. 

Alcohol has effects similar to such drugs. Consequently, it should not be mixed with anti-nausea drugs. Antihistamines and alcohol when combined can impair your motor control and even cause you to faint. Thus, if you’re taking drugs like Antivert and Atarax, give drinking a break for some time.

8. Muscle Relaxants

If you experience muscle spasms or cramps, you could be prescribed muscle relaxants. Muscle spasms could be the result of a medical condition or an injury. They work by suppressing the Central Nervous System. This leads to impaired mental and physical alertness. Muscle relaxants should never be mixed with alcohol.

Alcohol affects the CNS just like muscle relaxants do. Consequently, the intensity of side effects would increase if both of these are mixed. Muscle relaxants and alcohol, if mixed, can also negatively affect the functioning of the heart and lungs.

Consider staying away from alcohol for a while if you are prescribed any of the following drugs:

  • Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine)
  • Soma (carisoprodol)
  • Antivert (meclizine)

9. Hypertension & Heartburn Drugs

Mixing alcohol and hypertension drugs is a big no-no. Combining the two can cause fatal fluctuations in your blood pressure. Drugs like Accupril or Cardura can cause arrhythmia if mixed with alcohol. Alcohol can also cause dizziness and fainting if mixed with hypertension drugs. 

Do not consume alcohol if your doctor has prescribed you any medications for heartburn. Combining alcohol with your heartburn drugs could result in tachycardia.

Some of the heartburn drugs in this regard include:

  • Axid (nizatidine)
  • Reglan (metoclopramide)
  • Zantac (ranitidine)

Also Read: Is It Safe To Mix Modafinil And Alcohol?

Medicines And Alcohol: Wrapping Up

Alcohol in moderation is good for health. It is also what brings life to gatherings. There is no harm in enjoying some whiskey or wine occasionally. However, certain medications can pose grim health risks for you, if taken alongside alcohol. Thus, it is always better not to mix your medicines with alcohol. Consider consulting your doctor about alcohol and any drug you take. Your health should be your priority.