Topic Overview

Many medicines interact with alcohol. This includes both prescription medicines and ones you buy over the counter. For
example, if you drink while you take a
diabetes medicine such as insulin or sulfonylureas, such as glipizide and glyburide, it could
cause very low blood sugar levels. If you drink while you take medicine for
heartburn, such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine
(Zantac), it could cause 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. (These are called anticoagulants.)
  • Some medicines to treat
    depression.
  • Medicines to treat diabetes.

If you are taking any medicine, ask
your doctor or pharmacist whether you can safely drink alcohol.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Monti, PhD – Alcohol and Addiction
Christine R. Maldonado, PhD – Behavioral Health

Current as ofOctober 9, 2017