Mixing Alcohol and Medicines can be Highly Dangerous warn Pharmacists

  • Mixing alcohol with over the counter or prescription medicines can have unpredictable effects
  • Discuss with your pharmacist before mixing alcohol with medicines during festive season

12 December 2019: This weekend will see the festive season get into full swing with Christmas parties and family gatherings across the length and breadth of the country. While for many this will involve the responsible consumption of alcohol, pharmacists have issued a warning about the potential dangers of mixing alcohol with medicines.

Community pharmacist and IPU Executive Committee member Caitriona O’Riordan explained the dangers, “Alcohol is a drug and if used incorrectly alongside medications it can potentially be very dangerous. Even small amounts of alcohol, which can stay in the body far longer than the effects, can interact poorly with other medications both prescribed and over the counter, including cold remedies, pain relievers and antihistamines.

“Many medicines can become less effective when taken in conjunction with alcohol. This could leave people’s health vulnerable, particularly if they are unaware that their particular condition is not being treated effectively.

“It is very important that people understand how their medications may interact with alcohol, and this is something that your pharmacist can advise upon. Some medicines can increase the effects of alcohol or lead to dizziness, drowsiness and increased blood pressure. While the dangers of mixing opiate pain relievers or benzodiazepines with alcohol can be profound and significantly increases the risks of a dangerous overdose.”

Ms O’Riordan concluded by advising patients to check the safety with their pharmacist: “While many of us will look forward to enjoying a glass of mulled wine or other festive drink, if you are on any medication the only way to know if this is safe is to ask your pharmacist”.


Further information:

Siobhán Kane, Press and Communications Manager, 087 775 1510