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Medicines That Interact With Alcohol

Topic Overview

Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines interact with alcohol. For example, drinking while taking a diabetes medicine such as metformin (Glucophage) could result in very low blood sugar levels. Drinking while taking medicine for heartburn such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or ranitidine (Zantac) could result in 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 (anticoagulants).
  • Some medicines to treat depression (antidepressants).
  • Medicines to treat diabetes (hypoglycemics).

If you are taking any over-the-counter or prescription medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether you can safely drink alcohol.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Last Revised January 18, 2012

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