Alcohol and medication interactions

Ron Weathermon, David W. Crabb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

206 Scopus citations


Many medications can interact with alcohol, thereby altering the metabolism or effects of alcohol and/or the medication. Some of these interactions can occur even at moderate drinking levels and result in adverse health effects for the drinker. Two types of alcohol-medication interactions exist: (1) pharmacokinetic interactions, in which alcohol interferes with the metabolism of the medication, and (2) pharmacodynamic interactions, in which alcohol enhances the effects of the medication, particularly in the central nervous system (e.g., sedation). Pharmacokinetic interactions generally occur in the liver, where both alcohol and many medications are metabolized, frequently by the same enzymes. Numerous classes of prescription medications can interact with alcohol, including antibiotics, antidepressants, antihistamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, histamine H2 receptor antagonists, muscle relaxants, nonnarcotic pain medications and anti-inflammatory agents, opioids, and warfarin. In addition, many over-the-counter and herbal medications can cause negative effects when taken with alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-54
Number of pages15
JournalAlcohol Research and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999


  • Adverse drug interaction
  • Alcohol dehydrogenases
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cytochromes
  • Drug metabolism
  • Ethanol metabolism
  • Histamine H1 receptor blockaders
  • Liver
  • Moderate AOD use
  • Prescription drug

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Alcohol and medication interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this