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If you need alcohol treatment while practicing physical distancing, there are several professionally led treatment and mutual-support group options available to you. The danger is real. Mixing alcohol with certain medications can cause nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, or loss of coordination. It also can put you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulties in breathing. In addition to these dangers, alcohol can make a medication less effective or even useless, or it may make the medication harmful or toxic to your body. Even some herbal remedies can have harmful effects when combined with alcohol.

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Last updated on Nov 23, Many of us combine alcohol with our heart medications.

Types of drug interactions with alcohol

But can you safely drink alcohol with high blood pressure or other heart medications? This is a drug interaction question you might ask your doctor or pharmacist because use of heart medication is so common. Let's look more closely. Cardiovascular heart medications are widely prescribed to prevent or treat disorders of the cardiovascular system, such as:.

They might also be used to treat other non-heart conditions like migraine headache or essential tremor.

In one study, Breslow and colleagues reported that out of roughly 17, drinkers, heart medications were the drug class with the highest percentage of possible alcohol interactions, at about 24 percent. Alcohol and blood pressure medication interactions comprised a large percentage of this group.

Alcohol itself may also lower blood pressure itself in some patients.

Theoretically, a high blood pressure medication and alcohol consumption might worsen low blood pressure and lead to side effects like dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, fainting, or falling. When you mix alcohol with blood pressure medication, for example vasodilators and alpha-blockers, you may experience orthostasis, which is low blood pressure that occurs when you stand up from a sitting or lying down position.

These effects may be worse at the beginning of treatment. Orthostasis can lead to a fall and possible injury, and is a serious concern in older patients. Learn More : See the Drugs.

Additionally, there are numerous liver enzyme interactions with heart medications, potentially altering levels of the drug in your bloodstream. Liver enzymes are often responsible for breaking down medicines for excretion from the body.

If you have liver disease for example: cirrhosis from excessive alcohol use, it may affect how your heart drugs are broken down. Higher levels of medications can worsen side effects. Tell your healthcare providers about all the other medications you use, including prescription, over-the-counter OTC drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal products.

Moderate alcohol consumption may be allowable with many heart medications. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this applies to your personal circumstances.

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Cardiovascular heart medications are widely prescribed to prevent or treat disorders of the cardiovascular system, such as: high blood pressure angina chest pain irregular heartbeat arrhythmias pulmonary hypertension high pressure in the lung arteries congestive heart failure heart attack They might also be used to treat other non-heart conditions like migraine headache or essential tremor.

Some drug classes that can be affected by alcohol include: Alpha-blockersused for high blood pressure, can have a ificant interaction with alcohol.

The combination can lead to excessive hypotension low blood pressure and sedation. For example, when the centrally-acting alpha-blocker clonidine Catapres or the peripherally-acting alpha-blocker doxazosin Cardura are mixed with alcohol there is a risk for excessive low blood pressure, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and an increased risk for a fall. Ask your doctor before using an alpha-blocker with alcohol; you may be advised to avoid or limit use. Nitroglycerin and isosorbide are vasodilator and antianginal agents used to help prevent chest pain or pressure from angina.

Sedation and hypotension low blood pressure may result when one of these preparations is co-administered with alcohol.

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Beta-blockersfor example atenolol or metoprolol, may lead to additive blood pressure lowering when combined with alcohol. Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and changes in pulse or heart rate may occur, especially at the beginning of treatment or with dose changes.

Table 1. Sources Harmful Interactions. Mixing Alcohol With Medicines.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed Nov. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. Weathermon R, Crabb DW. Alcohol and medication interactions. Alcohol Res. Top Drug Interactions ; p.

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