Do not mix alcohol with meds this Christmas

Pharmacists warn of risks
  • Deborah Condon

With Christmas party season now in full swing, pharmacists are reminding people about the dangers of mixing alcohol with medicines over the holiday period.

According to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), even small amounts of alcohol can have a big impact on the effectiveness of medicines.

"This applies not just to prescription medicines, but also to many over-the-counter medicines such as cold remedies, pain relievers and anti-allergy medicines.

"One of the main risks is that mixing medicines with alcohol can make your medicines less effective. This could in turn have impacts on your health and wellbeing as you are not treating your condition appropriately," explained pharmacist and IPU executive committee member, Ann-Marie Horan.

The IPU also advised that many medicines can make users drowsy, sleepy or lightheaded. They may also interfere with concentration and the ability to drive or operate machinery.

As a result, mixing alcohol with medicines can increase the risk of accidents on the roads or at work.

"We also need to remember that medicines containing alcohol can affect a person's blood alcohol concentration limits, so by drinking alcohol on top of taking medication, you could inadvertently put yourself over the legal limit for driving. Our advice is to always read the label and when in doubt, ask your pharmacist," Ms Horan noted.

The IPU urged patients to always ask advice from their pharmacist first before consuming alcohol with any type of medicine.

 


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