Mixing Alcohol and Medication

It’s December and officially the best month of the year here in Cayman! We have the ‘winter’ breeze keeping us cool, the roundabouts are decorated and illuminated, and there are more holiday events than we can count. With all the festive joy and bottomless drinks that it brings, it’s important to take a step back and make responsible decisions about drinking alcohol, especially while taking medication.

Alcohol often has harmful interactions with prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and even some herbal remedies.

Alcohol interactions with medications may cause problems such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Loss of coordination
  • Accidents

Mixing alcohol and medications also may increase the risk of complications such as:

  • Liver damage
  • Heart problems
  • Internal bleeding
  • Impaired breathing
  • Depression

Even a small amount of alcohol can intensify the side-effects of medication. Doctors and pharmacists both recommend staying away from alcohol if you’re on prescription medication and/or over-the-counter medication. If you’re currently taking medication and still want to enjoy the boozy holiday season, don’t fret. We have some tips for you to have fun while still enjoying your events:

Avoid stressful situations that may cause you to want a drink: if you know talking to Aunt Susan about why you aren’t married yet, then try your best to limit that interaction. Even if that means excusing yourself from a conversation and heading to the kitchen to talk to somebody else. Be conscious of your triggers and set your boundaries accordingly.

Be upfront about your preferences: while it’s easy to get carried away with holiday momentum, politely decline an alcoholic drink and toast with a non-alcoholic beverage instead.

Use wine glasses or champagne flutes for your non-alcoholic drinks: holding a wine glass or champagne flute will give you the illusion that you’re participating in drinking. It can also help give the illusion to others that you are drinking which can help with unnecessary peer pressure from them to make you drink.

Get busy eating: along with tasty cocktails the holidays are also filled with delicious canopies and food! Try indulging in snacks to avoid alcohol urges.

Engage in games: keeping busy doing an activity at a party will distract you from drinking while also allowing you to have fun participating.

Try non-alcoholic beer: if you’re finding it difficult to manage your cravings, try non-alcoholic beer! The taste is almost identical and it’s incredibly less harmful to your body to drink while on medication.

It’s important to realize that it’s not necessary to consume alcohol in order to have a great time—and that is an important learning for the kids as well. We from Cayman Pharmacy Group wish you a wonderful holiday season. We hope you enjoy only the best times with family and friends while also staying safe when it comes to mixing alcohol with drugs.