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Alcohol and Medication

MedicationSeniors purchase the majority of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Thus, they are at risk for serious, sometimes fatal, drug interactions when combining alcohol with medications. The medications listed below represent only a partial list of common medications; there are literally hundreds of different medications within these broad categories. Patients are strongly advised to consult a health professional about combining ANY MEDICATION with alcohol.

  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medications
  • tranquilizers
  • blood thinners
  • sedatives
  • sleeping pills (prescription and over-the-counter)
  • pain relievers
  • cardiac medications
  • blood pressure medications
  • diuretics
  • some antibiotics
  • some antifungals
  • muscle relaxants
  • diabetes medications
  • antihistamines (prescription and over-the-counter)
  • motion sickness medications
  • potassium medications
  • seizure medications
  • cold remedies

The effects of combining alcohol with medications can include nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, fainting, increased bleeding, loss of coordination, cardiac and respiratory abnormalities. In addition, the effect of the medication may be altered or it may be rendered totally ineffective by combining with alcohol.