9 Medications You Don’t Want To Mix With Alcohol

When the dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol are mentioned, we might think of some celebrity dying in a hotel room after ingesting a legal mix of hard liquor and illegal substances. That, we think, will never happen to me.

But the fact is, despite efforts to educate the public on the risks of chasing certain medicines with a glass of wine or mug of beer, a significant number of Americans continue to do exactly that. Some 42% of drinkers surveyed in a recent National Institutes of Health study were also taking a medication that can react when mixed with alcohol.

A surprising range of medicines falls into that category. Yes, painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs are at the top of the list. But allergy pills, blood pressure meds, and even anti-cholesterol drugs can react poorly with alcohol. The possible consequences, depending on the medicine, range from nausea and dizziness to blood clots, difficulty breathing, and even death.

Older Americans are at greater risk of such interactions because they metabolize alcohol at a slower rate and are frequently taking multiple medications, which increases the chance of adverse interactions.

Related: Couples Who Drink Together, Stay Together

So, take a look at this list created by Consumer Reports and be mindful when mixing items from the medicine cabinet and liquor cabinet.

Type of Medication

Common Example(s)

Increased Risk

Anti-anxiety drugs

alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan)

Dizziness, drowsiness, increased risk of overdose, slowed or difficult breathing

Antihistamines

brompheniramine (Dimetapp), cetirizine (Zyrtec), chlorpheniraminediphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy, Sominex)

Dizziness, drowsiness, increased risk of overdose

Antibiotics

azithromycin (Zithromax), doxycycline (Vibramycin), erythromycin, metronidazole (Flagyl)

Nausea, vomiting, and flushing (with azithromycin and metronidazole), Reduced efficacy (with doxycycline), Increased alcohol intoxication (with erythromycin)

Blood pressure drugs

captopril (Capoten), felodipine (Plendil), nifedipinediuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide

Dizziness, Drowsiness, Fainting, Heart problems, such as arrhythmia 

Blood thinners

warfarin (Coumadin)

Internal bleeding (with occasional drinking), Blood clots, stroke, and heart attack (with heavier drinking)

Cholesterol drugs

statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor) 

Liver damage

Muscle relaxants

carisoprodol (Soma) and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)

Dizziness, Drowsiness, Increased risk of seizures, Increased risk of overdose, Slowed or difficult breathing

Opioid pain relievers

hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin), meperidine (Demerol), morphine (Kadian), oxycodone/acetaminophen (Percocet)

Dizziness, Drowsiness, Increased risk of overdose, Slowed or difficult breathing

Over-the-counter pain relievers

nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), and naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Internal bleeding and ulcers (with NSAIDs), Liver damage (with acetaminophen)

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