A glass of champagne with lunch. There is a beer at the beach. There are some drinks to see in the new year. There are a lot of occasions to have an alcoholic drink.

If you drink while taking certain drugs, this can affect your body in many ways. It's possible that drinking alcohol with some medicines won't work. You risk a life threatening overdose with others.

If you plan to drink and take medication over Christmas, this is the information you need.

Why is this a big deal?

The medicine goes to the stomach. Your body transports the drug to the liver where it is broken down before entering your bloodstream.

The amount of metabolism that occurs in the liver is taken into account when giving a medicine.

The amount of the drug that is metabolised can be affected by how much alcohol is consumed.

It's possible that not enough reaches your bloodstream to be effective.

Some medicines don't work as well as they used to. It's possible that you get a much higher dose than intended.

Similar effects of a medicine can be acted on by alcohol's effects.

Many factors can affect whether or not you will have an interaction. Medicine, dose, age, genes, sex, and overall health are included.

People with liver issues are more likely to have drug interactions with alcohol.

Which medicines don't mix well with alcohol?

Herbal medicines interact with alcohol regardless of whether you buy them over the counter or from a doctor.

This is the first thing. Medicines and alcohol can be dangerous.

Additive effects can come from drinking alcohol and taking a medicine that reduces arousal. In extreme cases, these can make you comatose, slow your breathing and cause you to die. If you use more than one medicine, you are more likely to experience these effects.

Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, pain, insomnia, allergies, and colds and flu are some of the conditions that can be treated with medicines.

Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum by not drinking with these medicines.

There are two Medicines and booze have more effects.

The effects of some medicines are increased by mixing alcohol with them.

The sleeping tablets are not to be taken with alcohol. Sleep-eating, sleep-driving, or sleep-walking, which are more likely with alcohol, are rare but serious.

There are three. High blood pressure is caused by medicines and craft beer.

Some drugs interact with alcohol.

Some medicines for depression, such as phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and moclobemide, are examples.

The monoamine oxidase inhibitors only interact with some types of boutique and artisan beers.

Tyramine, a naturally occurring substance usually broken down by your body, is found in these types of alcohol.

Your body can't break down tyramine. This can cause your blood pressure to go up.

There are four. You can still have effects even after you stop drinking.

The way your body breaks down alcohol can be affected by other medicines.

If you drink alcohol while using such medicines, you may feel sick, vomit, or dizzy, and your heart may beat faster than usual.

It can happen even after you stop treatment. If you are taking metronidazole, you should not drink alcohol while taking it or after you stop taking it.

Acitretin is an example of alcohol changing the amount of medicine in the body.

People who have had an organ transplant can be prevented from developing skin cancer by using this medication.

After acitretin is taken, it becomes etretinate, a substance that is removed from your body. The amount of etretinate in your body is increased by alcohol.

Birth defects can be caused by etretinate. If you are a woman of childbearing age, you should not drink alcohol while taking the medicine for two months after stopping.

Myths about alcohol and medicines

Birth control and alcohol.

One of the most common myths is that you can't drink while taking a contraceptive.

The pill doesn't affect how well birth control works if you drink with it.

The pill works best when taken at the same time each day. You're more likely to forget if you drink a lot.

Some people can get sick from drinking alcohol. It won't work if you vomit within three hours. It increases your risk of getting pregnant.

The hormones in contraceptive pills can affect how alcohol is removed from your body. You can get drunk quicker, and stay drunk longer.

Antibiotics and alcohol.

There is a myth that mixing alcohol with antibiotics is not a good idea. It only applies to the two drugs.

Alcohol doesn't affect how well antibiotics work.

It is best to not drink while taking antibiotics. Alcohol and antibiotics have the same side effects.

You're more likely to have these side effects if you combine the two. Alcohol can affect your energy and recovery time.

Where can I go for advice?

Don't stop taking your medicines if you plan on drinking alcohol during the holidays and are worried about interactions with your medicines.

If you're unsure if it's safe to drink based on the medicines you're taking, your pharmacy can give you alternatives.

Nial Wheate is an associate professor of the pharmacy school at the university.

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