Friday, April 30, 2010

Understanding alcohol-drug interactions

ALCOHOL interacts with many medications. Drinking alcohol can alter the way the body metabolizes drugs. As an example, the LIVER adapts to alcohol consumption by increasing its battery of drug-destroying ENZYMES. Because a heavy drinker may metabolize a sedative rapidly, its effects could wear off sooner than in a non-drinker, leaving the heavy drinker undersedated. Patients should read prescription labels carefully before drinking, and inform dentists, physicians, pharmacists, and other health care providers if they drink.
Interactions include:
Analgesics Non-prescription pain killers, such as Tylenol, that contain acetaminophen can damage the liver of those who consume several drinks a day. ASPIRIN together with alcohol increases stomach bleeding.
Antidepressants Monoamine oxidase inhibitors,
AMPHETAMINES, and tricyclic antidepressants such as imipramine cause severe reactions and increased sedation, if taken with alcohol. Taking any one of several antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, can increase the effects of alcohol, including drowsiness and impaired motor skills.
Antihistamines Drinking after taking drugs like benadryl can lead to excessive drowsiness. Arthritis Medications Indocin and other drugs prescribed for arthritis taken with alcohol can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and may cause dizziness.
Barbiturates Alcohol should never be combined with drugs like amytal or phenobarbital, which is the most hazardous combination. The additive effects of taking the depressants can lead to respiratory failure and coma.
Diabetic Medications Individuals taking Diabinese, Orinase, and other sulfonureas to treat diabetes will probably not be able to tolerate alcohol because these drugs can make the user ill after drinking alcoholic beverages.
Niacin Large doses of niacin taken with alcohol can reduce blood pressure excessively. Prescription Pain Killers Codeine and narcotics combined with alcohol cause increased sedation. Sedatives and Tranquilizers Combining alcohol and tranquilizers such as Valium and Thorazine can lead to oversedation and extreme drowsiness.

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