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Answers to Common Medication-Related Questions

Ask an ExactCare Pharmacist

Everyone has questions from time to time about their medications. Your pharmacist is a great resource to help answer these types of questions! Pharmacists are the medication experts on your healthcare team. They have extensive education about medications, how they interact with one another, and how they can support your health. Here, we provide some answers to common medication-related questions featuring one of ExactCare’s own clinical pharmacists, Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS.


Reeya Patel, PharmD, BCMTMS

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Can I drink alcohol with my medications?

Taking certain medications with alcohol can be risky to your health.

It is always important to know the possible risks mixing medications and alcohol can have.

Let’s find out some of the things you should be careful of.

Alcohol should not be mixed with certain medications

Alcohol can cause bad side effects with certain medications used to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Allergies, colds, and flu
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Sleeping aids
  • Infections

Alcohol on its own can make you feel sleepy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Some medications can make you feel this way too.

Medication that can make you feel this way on its own should not be taken with alcohol.

Mixing certain drugs with alcohol can increase the amount of the drug in your blood. This can lead to side effects.

Here are some of the most common medications you should avoid taking with alcohol:

  • Pain medications like oxycodone, acetaminophen, and gabapentin.
  • Sleeping aids like zolpidem.
  • Antibiotics like metronidazole.
  • Anxiety medications like alprazolam and diazepam.

This is not a complete list of medications you should avoid with alcohol. You can view a more complete list here from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

How can alcohol affect medications?

Drinking alcohol can change how certain liver enzymes work. This affects how medication breaks down in your body.

Alcohol can speed up or slow down how specific medications are absorbed and broken down.

This can impact how well your medication is working.

Who is at risk of these side effects?

Anyone taking medications known to have a reaction when mixed with alcohol is at risk.

But who needs to be extra careful?

People 65 and older who are taking medications known to have interactions with alcohol are at a higher risk of these side effects—due to slower metabolisms and decreased reflexes and balance.

When alcohol is mixed with slow reflexes and a slowed metabolism, the alcohol will stay in your body longer. This can increase the effects it may have on you.

If you are unsure if you can drink alcohol while on your medications, it is important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you are an ExactCare patient and have questions about your medication, give us a call at 1-877-355-7225. Our pharmacists are here to help!

Information featured on the ExactCare website, including the Ask a Pharmacist page, should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your pharmacist or doctor for advice regarding your personal health situation. If ExactCare is your pharmacy, call us directly to talk to your pharmacist: 1-877-355-7225


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