The Negative Effects of Mixing Alcohol with Medication

The Negative Effects of Mixing Alcohol with Medication

Alcohol is a popular substance worldwide. This makes it easy to forget the negative effects of alcohol consumption. These include undesirable interactions with other drugs. People often talk about how mixing drugs and alcohol can be extremely dangerous, but simultaneously forget that common medications are drugs that may cause negative side effects.


Acetaminophen is more commonly known as Tylenol and is taken regularly by many humans. One of the first drugs that people encounter in life, people tend to forget it is even considered a drug. Research has shown that ingesting even a small amount of alcohol more than doubles the risk of kidney disease. While neither substance changes the risk on their own, the combination can be detrimental to kidney health. Acetaminophen and alcohol is also a dangerous combination for the liver. Both substances are already harsh on the liver, but when mixed a substance called N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI) can be created. NAPQI kills liver cells and can cause irreversible liver damage including liver failure which can be fatal.


As mental illness rises worldwide, so does the number of people who take regular antidepressants. Especially with this being a required daily medication, many people don’t realize that adding alcohol to the mix at any time can cause negative interactions with their antidepressants. Mixing antidepressants and alcohol can have a variety of effects when depending on the type of antidepressant being taken. Most antidepressants don’t work when combined with alcohol which can cause increased levels of anxiety and depression. Depending on the antidepressant, spikes in blood pressure, drowsiness, loss of focus, and decreased coordination may be experienced.

hallucinations The Negative Effects of Mixing Alcohol with Medication

Allergy or Cold Medication

Allergy and cold medicines can cause hazardous interactions when combined with alcohol. These over the counter remedies can especially become an issue if they are sedatives. The sedative effect intensifies with alcohol which can cause loss of focus, dizziness, and intensified sedation. In more extreme cases, hallucinations and increased levels of confusion may occur as well.


Caffeine is a substance many people don’t even recognize as a drug and often choose to combine with alcohol. In moderation, this isn’t an issue, but it is becoming increasingly popular to combine alcohol and caffeinated beverages which can be dangerous to health. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine does not help to counteract the effects of alcohol and therefore cannot help a person get sober faster. It can block the sensory cues of drunkenness which is highly dangerous as one may not realize how drunk they are until put into a compromising situation. Alcohol-related injuries and alcohol poisoning are more common when combined with high levels of caffeine. It also causes blood sugar issues in those with diabetes.

extreme drowsiness The Negative Effects of Mixing Alcohol with Medication

Motion Sickness Medications

Motion sickness medications all cause a level of drowsiness which can be intensified with alcohol. This is even true of the non-drowsy choices which are essentially just less drowsy than the other options. The alcohol also counteracts the antiemetic effects of the medication in addition to increasing the risk of vomiting on its own. Interaction between the two causes dizziness and extreme drowsiness which can increase the chances of injuries occurring.

If you are taking any kind of medication, the safest option is to avoid alcohol altogether. Mixing drugs of any kind with alcohol cause an immediate or long-term risk to your health. Keep your body in the best possible condition by avoiding these and other hazardous drug combinations.

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