Alcohol is often used and abused with OTC meds and prescription drugs for various purposes. But many individuals aren’t aware of the fact that it not only reduces the effect of medications but also results in serious side effect. Also, when taken with illicit drugs using pill reminder app, the impacts will change depending on the nature of the drugs.
Similarly, the impact of alcohol on medications will change depending on the class of medications it is taken with.
Here we have briefly described some common effects that occur when alcohol is combined with different meds and drugs.
Combining Alcohol With Anti-Depressants
Antidepressants are specifically manufactured to cure clinical depression. These medications belong to several different medication classes, and the alcohol has different effect on each antidepressant depending on its class. A common reason people use alcohol with antidepressants is to experience the feelings of elation or euphoria. However, these medications don’t create such feelings when combined with alcohol. Instead, the abuser often ends up developing severe side effects.
The major side effects of combining alcohol with antidepressants include:
- Reduced impact of antidepressant
- Increase in the level of depression
- Higher potential for damaging liver and other organs
As mentioned earlier, different classes of antidepressants may produce different effects when combined with alcohol. For instance, drinking certain brands of beer may increase one’s admission of tyramine, an amino acid which can cause stroke or heart attack when mixed with monoamine oxidase drugs. But luckily, this class of antidepressants is very rarely prescribed for the treatment of disorder.
Alcohol with Anticonvulsant Drugs
Anticonvulsant drugs are prescribed to control seizures or as mood stabilizers. Taking alcohol with these drugs can result in:
- Decreased drug effect, resulting in an increased risk of seizures
- Issues with coordination and reaction time
- Increases in depression
- Increase in suicidal thoughts
Alcohol with Blood Pressure Medications
There are numerous blood pressure medications such as Norvasc (amlodipine besylate), Lopressor (HCT hydrochlorothiazide), and Accupril (quinapril).
Taking these medications with alcohol with/without medication reminder app can result in:
- Reduced effect of the drug
- Increased high blood pressure due to the week effect
- Irregular heartbeat
- Fainting spells
Combination with Diabetes Medication
There are several medications to control diabetes – insulin to control type I diabetes and Glucophage for type II. Taking these medications with alcohol can be severely damaging for health as many alcoholic beverages contain high sugar levels.
The effect of combining alcohol with these medications can include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue, dizziness, weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting
- Dangerous changes in blood sugar levels
Alcohol with CNS Drugs
The central nervous system is arguably the most important part of human body.
It includes brain and spinal cord.
Numerous medications – prescription, OTC, illicit drugs – have CNS depressant effects. But they slow down the functioning of brain and spinal cord.
Some major CNS depressants include:
- Benzodiazepines and barbiturates for treating anxiety
- Muscle relaxants and drugs with a sedative/hypnotic effect such as Ambien (zolpidem), Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine), etc.
- Majority of prescription pain relievers including narcotic medications such as morphine, OxyContin, Vicodin etc.
- Many over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin
- A number of illicit drugs including heroin
The combination of CNS drugs and alcohol can result in serious side effects as it enhances effects of both drugs. This can potentially cause overdose, dangerously affecting the brain and other functions like breathing and heart rate.
Individuals can also encounter issues like:
- Slow response time
- Potential liver damage
- Potential cardiovascular damage
- A decrease in breathing rate potentially leading to serious respiratory damage
- Depression, anxiety, etc.
While alcohol and CNS depressants suppress the functioning of brain, there are numerous stimulants that speed up CNS functions. They include:
- Amphetamines to treat conditions that cause lethargy or sleepiness
- Prescription medications Ritalin, Concerta, or Adderall for the treatment of ADHD
- Illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine (crystal meth)
Individuals who don’t use a vaccine reminder app often abuse alcohol with CNS stimulants to soften the effect of stimulant instead of reducing the effects of alcohol. While the individuals who use alcohol with illicit stimulant drugs like cocaine commonly do this to diminish the effect of the stimulant drug. The combination also is very common among college students looking to improve grades.
Polysubstance abuse happens when a person abuses more than one drugs regularly. Such individuals are highly likely to develop serious health issues. Sometimes, they may even develop physical dependence on one or more drugs and issues that lead to substance use disorder.
Additionally, they may end up developing:
- Controlling use of one or both drugs
- Issues with personal relationships
- Poor performance at school or work
- Difficulty in fulfilling obligations such as parenting, work responsibilities, etc.
The treatment of polysubstance abuse can be difficult for various reasons. Specialists often end up neglecting patients’ utilization of alcohol while concentrating on their use of sedatives and stimulants. Since people with this disorder often carry more than one health issues, when the treatment is centered around one single problem, the results won’t be very effective. Therefore, it is necessary to identify and treat a person’s every single health issue caused by polysubstance abuse. Also, as obvious from earlier sections of this article, chronic polysubstance abuse can result in serious issues with emotional and physical health as compared to the alcohol abuse alone.
Therefore, if you are suffering from the disorder, or find someone else around you with substance addiction, the best thing to do for them would be to refer them to a specialist that can provide the right treatment.