What You Should Know About Mixing Alcohol and OTC Meds

Sunday, January 6, 2008

There are endless reasons to stay away from alcohol when taking over-the-counter medications. Alcohol can cause confusion, enhanced side effects, and even death with certain over the counter products. Here are a few things to consider before you mix alcohol with OTC meds:

Alcohol & Meds Together Can Overload Your Liver

When you drink alcohol, your liver is responsible for eliminating it from your system. This is why people with alcoholism get liver failure, because they're livers are overworked for years and years. Your liver also cleanses out toxic byproducts of OTC medications.

Unfortunately, this vital cleansing quality of liver is literally overloaded when you mix certain medications with alcohol. Your liver can't handle all the toxins you've put into your body, and then you're basically poisoned. Consequences can range from an elevated heart rate to death. To avoid potential poisoning, be sure to read all OTC labels and ask your doctor or pharmacist how much alcohol you can safely drink with your OTC meds.

Alcohol Can Worsen Side Effects

If alcohol doesn't directly damage your body, it still has the potential to exacerbate side effects associated with the OTC medications you're taking. Drowsiness and fogginess are common, and these worsened side effects can be dangerous when driving or operating heavy machinery.

It's Easy to Get Confused about Your Meds When Drunk

Yet another reason why mixing meds and alcohol is this: when you're drunk or even just have a buzz, you're less likely to take your medications correctly. You might forget to read the label, you might take the wrong dosage, or you might even take the wrong medicine all together. Even when dealing with over-the-counter drugs, it is essential to be lucid and intelligible when you taking any kind of measured medication.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask Your Local Pharmacist...

If you want to be positive that your OTC medications mixed with a night of partying won't produce undesirable side effects, don't hesitate to ask your local pharmacist any questions you can think of. This is the best way to definitively be informed about drug-alcohol interactions you could experience, aside from leaving warning labels on the OTC meds themselves. Trusted medical websites such as WebMD.com are also great places to go for drug information and answers you're looking for.

Mixing alcohol with over the counter medications is rarely a good idea, and you can avoid horrible side effects simply by being informed with labels and information. I hope this article has assisted you. Good luck!

author: Lisa Belle