“Combining alcohol with medications often carries the potential for serious health risks.”
~Dr. George Koob, Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
A 2015 study by the National Institutes of Health reports that 42% of American adult take prescription medications that can interact with alcohol. It’s even higher among seniors – 78% of those who use alcohol take medications with potential interactions.
- 86% of US adults drink at some point
- 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication
- Over half take two or more
- Approximately 20% are prescribed 5 or more medications
2007-2010, the percentage of people taking a prescription within the previous month jumped by 50%.
How Big of Problem is Alcohol-Drug Interaction?
Mixing alcohol and medications can be serious – 25% of emergency room visits are due to drug-alcohol interactions. Drinking while using some prescription meds can be deadly:
- Opioid painkillers (Vicodin, Oxycontin, etc.)—Taking just one OxyContin while drinking “moderately” can suppress breathing by 47%.
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, etc.)—Over 27% of ER visits and 21% of deaths that are benzo-related also involve alcohol.
- Antidepressants (Paxil, Zoloft, etc.) – Mixing alcohol with antidepressant medications increases the risk of suicidal ideation.
- Diabetes medications (Insulin, Metformin, etc.) – Drinking with these medications can result in diabetic ketoacidosis or lactic acidosis – potentially fatal conditions.
- Cholesterol-lowering Statins (Lipitor, Crestor, etc.) – Combining the two can contribute to complete renal failure.
- Hypertension medications (Lasix, Lisinopril, etc.) – Drinking can result in dehydration, slowed heart rate, and dangerously-low blood pressure.
Here’s the bottom line – sometimes you need to make lifestyle changes in order to deal with health conditions or to take your prescribed medications safely. If you are finding it difficult to stop drinking, maybe you have a problem.
Lasting Recovery outpatient alcohol rehab in San Diego can give you the tools and support to live a healthier, alcohol-free life.