Medication and drug interaction

Mixing alcohol and medications can be dangerous

Mixing alcohol and drugs can be dangerous – whether you're taking prescribed medication or an over-the-counter remedy. Older people need to be particularly careful, as they are more likely to take medications and have an overall weakened health status.

There are many medications that should never be mixed with alcohol. Others should be taken with caution.

What can happen?

  • The effects of the medication can become dangerously strong Alcohol can increase the effects of hypnotics, sleeping pills and sedatives. This can lead to increased drowsiness, coma and even death.
  • The side effects of the medication can get worse. For example, mixing alcohol with aspirin increases the risk of getting stomach ulcers
  • The medication can become less effective. For example, mixing alcohol with diabetics medication can prevent it from working properly and may contribute to dangerous instability in blood sugar levels. Alcohol can also interfere with the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS.