You Should Avoid Drinking Alcohol If You're Taking This Medication

A beer or a glass of wine might help you wind down from a hard day at work, but it's not a great idea if you're taking certain medications. Even some over-the-counter medicines and herbal supplements can interact with alcohol. Although drinking alcohol might make you feel tired or sluggish, your medication can increase the severity of what you usually experience when you drink. Your typical glass of wine or beer might also feel like you've had more if you're taking medications.

Drinking alcohol while taking medications could cause nausea, headaches, or drowsiness, and some interactions can result in internal bleeding, heart problems, and trouble breathing (via National Institutes of Health). Alcohol can also affect how your body absorbs your medication. In some cases, alcohol can make your body absorb medication faster, which can render it less effective. Sometimes alcohol can slow your medication, causing it to be more toxic (via Express Scripts).

It's important to check the label of your medication for any interactions, particularly alcohol. Although alcohol doesn't affect this medication's absorption, GoodRx says that drinking alcohol while taking corticosteroids like prednisone could increase this medication's side effects.

Mixing alcohol with prednisone

Prednisone's known side effects include headache, heartburn, mood changes, and weight gain. If you are already taking prednisone and are feeling these side effects, drinking alcohol will make them worse. Taking prednisone for an extended period of time can suppress your immune system, so you're more likely to get an infection while taking this steroid. Drinking alcohol also suppresses your immune system, so combining alcohol with prednisone increases the likelihood of infection (via GoodRx). If your prednisone prescription follows a surgical procedure, drinking alcohol will slow your body's ability to heal (via Zinnia Health).

Another long-term effect of taking prednisone while drinking alcohol is that it increases your risk of osteoporosis. Alcohol already robs your bones of vital nutrients, so combining the two can compromise your bone health (via Medical News Today). Long-term alcohol use also causes damage to your liver, and taking prednisone while continuing to drink worsens the effects on your liver and can be fatal (via Zinnia Health).

Certain groups are more sensitive to complications

Because women don't hold as much water in their bodies as men, women feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than men. Therefore, women should practice a little more precaution before taking a drink while on prednisone. Older adults will also feel alcohol's effects more heavily and might be more susceptible to the side effects of prednisone.

People who experience depression might feel their symptoms worsen while drinking and taking prednisone (via Vertava Health). Those with type 2 diabetes might notice unstable blood sugar levels while drinking alcohol. Alcohol can also cause problems with the pancreas. Because prednisone increases blood sugar, people with type 2 diabetes might need medication to stabilize their blood sugar levels (via Medical News Today).

The strength of your prednisone and how much alcohol you typically drink will factor into whether or not you should drink while on prednisone. Your doctor can give you the best advice after considering your current medical condition and history. If your prednisone prescription is for the short term, it might be a good idea to refrain from alcohol until you're finished with the medication.