Pharmacists Warn of the Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Medicines

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

 15 December 2017: Pharmacists have today urged members of the public to be aware of the dangers of mixing alcohol and medicines, particularly over the festive period.

Drinking alcohol, even if it is only in small amounts, while also taking medicines can have unpredictable effects. In many cases it can make the medicine you are taking less effective or the side-effects worse.

Although most medicines are safe and effective when used as directed, mixing alcohol and medicines can put you at risk of a dangerous reaction as alcohol can interact negatively with many medicines. It is not just prescription medication that patients need to be aware of when consuming alcohol. Many over-the-counter medicines, such as cough and cold remedies, pain relievers, antihistamines and travel sickness pills, have the potential to interact negatively with alcohol,” commented Ms Caitriona O’Riordan, a pharmacist and member of the Executive Committee of the Irish Pharmacy Union.

Pharmacists also advise that many medicines can also make users sleepy, drowsy or lightheaded and can interfere with concentration and the ability to drive a vehicle or operate machinery. Consuming alcohol at the same time as using these medicines can lead to risks to personal safety including serious or even fatal accidents on the roads or at work.

Ms O’ Riordan advised people to ask their pharmacist first before taking alcohol with any type of medicine to avoid putting their personal safety and the safety of others at risk.


Further information:

Jim Curran, Director of Communications & Strategy, IPU, 086 264 0469

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