Consumption of alcohol and medication: understand the risks

Many people have doubts about the use of drugs associated with other substances, for example, about the risks involved with the effect of the drug when in conjunction with alcohol.

With that in mind, we have separated some important information for you in this regard:

Is alcohol consumption with medications dangerous?

-Yeah . First, the danger is due to the fact that most drugs are metabolized by the liver, as well as alcohol.

Thus, the concomitant use of the two substances can cause an overload of work for this very important organ. As a consequence, this can potentiate the effect of the medicine and intoxicate the organism, or decrease its therapeutic effects.

However, the most common is that the use of alcohol decreases the action of the medication , which consequently lowers the effectiveness of the treatment.

This factor is also influenced by the diuretic effects of alcohol and its action on the functioning of our intestines. This is because the drugs are eliminated from the body through urine and feces.

In this sense, when alcohol enters the body, it makes our intestines work differently than usual. In addition, its diuretic effects increase the urge to urinate.

Based on these factors, the medication ends up being eliminated from the body before the expected time and this may cause it to not have the necessary effects for the treatment.

It is worth mentioning that alcohol also has a depressive effect on our CNS (central nervous system). Therefore, it can potentiate the action of some substances and cause symptoms such as drowsiness and / or increase the risk of loss of motor and metal coordination.

Can anyone who takes anxiety medication drink?

In general, the guideline is not to consume alcoholic beverages while using any medication – considering that it can affect the treatment.

As mentioned, alcohol can potentiate the action of the drug substance in the body. In the case of anxiety medications , this can lead to side effects such as drowsiness, as these medications act directly on the CNS (central nervous system) and alcohol has a depressant effect on the body.

In addition, the side effects of the drug can also be enhanced, which can occur with any type of medication when mixed with alcohol.

In this sense, the most explosive combination for the body is alcohol with benzodiazepine medications ( Diazepam , Alprazolam , etc.). This mixture triggers a sedative effect, lack of coordination and impaired memory, which increases the risk of accidents.

Finally, the pharmacist Francielle Mathias reinforces that the guidance on being able (or not) to consume alcohol during treatment “in general, will depend on each medication” and that “in the package insert, in the drug interaction part , the person can consult this information ”.

More than that, it is essential to follow the instructions of the responsible physician. Remember that there are no studies that prove the existence of a safe dose of alcohol in conjunction with medications, especially antidepressants.

Does alcohol cut the effect of the medicine for depression?

In the vast majority of cases, the use of alcohol in conjunction with antidepressant drugs enhances the effect of these drugs. Consequently, side effects are more likely to occur.

Adverse reactions such as dizziness , nausea, palpitations and insomnia are included . In more severe cases, respiratory arrest, coma and even death may occur.

However, despite inhibiting or altering the effect, in general, alcohol does not completely stop the action of antidepressant medications. The reactions will also vary depending on the daily dose of the medication and the amount of alcohol ingested.

It is worth mentioning that, despite this, this association is not recommended before talking to the doctor (a) responsible – in order to ensure efficacy in the treatment and avoid exposure to risks.

With what remedies can you not take alcohol?

Basically, to find out if you can (or not) consume alcoholic beverages along with a certain medication, you need to consult the instructions on the package insert or a specialist.

But it is worth mentioning that the vast majority of medicines should not be associated with alcohol, considering that regardless of the medication, it alters the functioning of the organism and can be harmful to therapy.

To help with doubts in this regard, we have separated some medications. Understand what they are for and whether or not they can be associated with alcohol:


The drug substance Metronidazole is the active ingredient in medicines used to treat conditions such as: vaginitis, amoebiasis (infection of the large intestine) and other infections.

It is available in three different presentations – gel, injectable or compressed version.

Regardless of the form of use, the package insert indicates that this medication should not be associated with alcohol in any way. Among the possible side effects of concomitant use of the drug with alcoholic beverages are:

  • Disulfiram type reaction (antabuse effect) – hypersensitivity to alcohol which can lead to respiratory problems, cardiac arrhythmias and seizures;
  • Redness of the skin;
  • Vomiting.

In addition, the recommendation is to wait at least 1 days after the end of treatment to consume alcohol.


Dorflex is a medication indicated for the treatment of headaches and muscles, acting as an analgesic and muscle relaxant . This, due to the fact that its main asset is Dipirona, which enables this action.

In general, neither the Dorflex package insert nor the Dipyrone package address the use of this medication associated with alcohol. But it is known that these drugs can, in some cases, cause stomach discomfort and irritation, which can be aggravated by alcohol.

Still, when alcohol enters the body it already potentiates the diuretic action – increasing the urge to urinate. Therefore, medication tends to be eliminated faster from the body and may not have the desired effects.


Ivermectin is a drug substance that acts as an active ingredient in medications for the treatment of conditions caused by worms or parasites – such as ascariasis, scabies and onchocerciasis.

According to the information on the package insert, there are no records of complications from the association of this medicine with other substances. Thus, there is no information on whether or not it can be associated with alcohol.

The only indication is that the drug should be used with caution in people who use drugs that depress the CNS (central nervous system).

Therefore, to find out more accurately, ask your doctor for guidance.


Itraconazole is a medicinal substance present in medications used to treat conditions caused by fungi – onychomycosis, candidiasis , pityriasis, etc.

Its package insert indicates that it is a medication with a high potential for interaction with other remedies. However, there is no mention of alcohol use during treatment.

However, this medicine (as well as most) is metabolized by the liver, as is alcohol. Thus, the joint use of the two substances can overload this organ and even cause liver failure (deterioration of liver function).

Therefore, the ideal is to always ask for medical advice at the beginning of the treatment.

Why can’t you drink while taking antibiotics?

It is never recommended to mix antibiotics with alcoholic beverages. More than that, some medications may take some time after the end of the treatment for the use of alcohol to be released.

This is because even after finishing taking the medication, some substances remain active in the body for a few more days. Like Azithromycin, for example, which stays in the body for 4 days after ingestion.

Therefore, as the use of ethanol reduces the concentration of antibiotics in the blood, it is ideal to wait this time to maintain the effectiveness of the treatment.

This is one of the reasons for not drinking during antibiotic therapy. In addition, this association can also cause adverse gastric, hepatic (liver) effects, etc.

To find out how long it is allowed to drink alcohol after finishing treatment, talk to the doctor responsible for your case. Considering that this factor can vary according to each remedy.

What happens to a person who mixes alcohol and medication?

As mentioned, in the vast majority of cases, alcohol should not be used with medications. Some of the consequences of this association are:

  • Ineffectiveness (or decrease) of the remedy’s action;
  • Potentiation of the side effects of the medication;
  • Potentiation of the effects of the medicine – it can cause toxicity;
  • Impairment (or overload) of the liver’s functions – since it is responsible for metabolizing the vast majority of medicines and also alcohol;
  • Tachycardia;
  • Vomiting.

These are just some of the possible side effects caused by the joint use of alcoholic beverages and medicated substances.

Therefore, in case of doubts about this association, seek medical advice.

After how long have I taken medicine can I drink it?

During drug treatment, it is never advised to use alcohol. However, some people are in doubt as to how long after treatment ethanol use is allowed without interfering with therapy.

This varies a lot between each medication, considering that this guidance is given thinking about the time that the medicine stays in the body. That is, how long it takes to be eliminated after ingestion.

In this sense, some medicated substances stay longer in the body, such as antibiotics, for example. Others can be eliminated a few hours or at most a day after ingestion.

Therefore, only the information on the package insert and on a professional will be able to indicate exactly how long after taking the medicine, alcohol is allowed.

Remembering that not following these guidelines can decrease the effectiveness of the treatment.

The interaction of alcohol with medications can cause very serious problems. Therefore, in general, you should never use these substances concurrently.

If you have doubts during a treatment, always seek expert help!

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