Alcohol and medicines Introduction
Which medicines ?
A summary article from TEST GEZONDHEID … Introduction
Some medicines should not be taken in combination with alcohol. For certain others, the combination does not represent a problem. If it’s best not to drink alcohol during a particular course of medication, the fact should be stated in the instructions for use of the medicine.
Alcohol and medicines may influence each other in three ways:
- Medicines can delay the elimination of alcohol. A toxic decomposition product of alcohol thus remains longer in the body. This can produce unpleasant effects, such as a hot, flushed face, nausea, headache, a fall in blood pressure, and palpitations.
- Alcohol can delay the breakdown of certain medicines; these medicines therefore remain longer in the body. A possible consequence is an overdose of a medicine.
- Alcohol can increase the effects and side effects of certain medicines.
How does the consumer know which medicinal product should not be combined with alcoholic beverage? First and foremost via the dispensing chemist, who can point out that no alcohol should be drunk in combination with the prescribed medicine. In the second place, via the instruction folder, which warns against the use of alcohol in combination with the medicine. The instructions sometimes describe the symptoms that may appear in combination with alcohol. For example: “If you drink alcohol with this medicine you may suffer unpleasant effects such as a hot, flushed face, nausea, headaches, a fall in blood pressure and palpitations”.