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Medicines That Interact With Alcohol

Topic Overview

Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines interact with alcohol. For example, drinking while taking a diabetes medicine such as insulin or insulin secretagogues (for example, sulfonylureas such as glipizide and glyburide) could result in very low blood sugar levels. Drinking while taking medicine for heartburn, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac), could result in 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 (anticoagulants).
  • Some medicines to treat depression (antidepressants).
  • Medicines to treat diabetes (hypoglycemics).

If you are taking any over-the-counter or prescription medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you can safely drink alcohol.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Last Revised July 29, 2013

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