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Interactions with other drugs

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Alcohol interactions with other drugs

Alcohol is a drug that when taken in combination with other drugs – including medicines or illicit drugs, can lead to adverse effects. These occur because the two drugs interact in the body. Some individuals may choose to mix alcohol with other drugs whilst others may do so by accident or without knowledge of the risks. The effects on the body of mixing drugs (poly-drug use) can vary greatly across different people. The effects of mixing alcohol with other drugs can be unpredictable and dangerous.


What is a drug interaction?

It is when the effects of one drug alter the effects of another drug. The usual effects of a particular drug may become greater or lesser, or new effects may be seen. These may be unwanted or harmful. Alcohol may stop the benefits that some drugs – such as medicines, have on the body.

Interaction between Alcohol and Other Drugs:

Drug

Effects when mixed with Alcohol

Amphetamines

· Temporary arousal

· Increases amount of alcohol needed to feel intoxicated (gives a false sense of sobriety)

· Reduced co-ordination

· Intensified come down

Anabolic Steroids

· Taking both together can upset the stomach

Aspirin

· Risk of gastrointestinal bleeding

· Damage to stomach lining

Benzodiazepines

· Extreme central nervous system depression

· Impaired co-ordination, reaction time and memory loss

Cannabis

· Decreased alertness, motor and cognitive abilities

· Unpredictable and effects of both drugs may be intensified

Cocaine & Crack Cocaine

· Temporary arousal

· Increases amount of alcohol needed to feel intoxicated (gives a false sense of sobriety)

· Reduced co-ordination

· Intensified come down

· When mixed with alcohol create a new compound – cocaethylene, in the liver, which is associated with a greater risk of sudden death than in cocaine alone

Ecstasy

· Unpredictable and effects of both drugs may be prolonged

GHB / GBL

· Extreme central nervous system depression

· Impaired co-ordination, reaction time and memory loss

· Risk of overdose

Ketamine

· Increased risk of liver damage

LSD

· Unpredictable and effects of both drugs may be intensified

Magic Mushrooms

· Unpredictable and effects of both drugs may be intensified

Methadone, Heroin, Codeine, Oxycodon, Fentanyl, etc.

· Extreme central nervous system depression

· Impaired co-ordination

· Increased risk of respiratory depression (very low breathing rate)

· High risk of overdose

· Impairs gag reflex meaning an increased risk of choking if you vomit

Nitrates, poppers

· Extreme dizziness or fainting

Paracetamol

· Chronic alcoholics more at risk of liver damage (hepatotoxicity)

Solvents

· Can experience transient facial reddening; similar to ‘hot flushes’


References:

Alcohol-related drug interactions. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter
2008;24(1):240106.

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. January 1, 2002 vol. 300 no. 1 236-244

Alcohol Interactions with Other Drugs © Health Department of Western Australia 1999
Produced by Alcohol and Other Drugs Program Public Health Division

Useful link

Interactions Checker on www.drugs.com

 

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