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Can I Drink and Take Medication?


Updated June 02, 2014

Question: Can I Drink and Take Medication?
Answer: Probably not. More than 100 medications interact with alcohol, leading to increased risk of illness, injury and, in some cases, death. The effects of alcohol are increased by medicines that slow down the central nervous system, such as sleeping pills, antihistamines, antidepressants, antianxiety drugs, and some painkillers.

In addition, medicines for certain disorders, including diabetes and heart disease, can be dangerous if used with alcohol. If you are taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you can safely drink alcohol. (See also Alcohol Alert No. 27: Alcohol-Medication Interactions.)

Before you take any medication, if you drink alcohol, check this list of more than 9,000 prescription and over-the-counter medications for possible reactions and side effects, if you drink alcohol.

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