Alcohol and drugs: what are the riskiest mixtures?

Alcohol and drugs

Drugs and alcohol rarely mix well. And even several hours after ingestion, alcohol can cause serious damage when consumed with certain medications. What are the most dangerous mixtures? Many treatments can interact with alcohol, with consequences sometimes serious. From nausea, coma, to respiratory arrest, the effects of ethanol , combined with certain molecules, are complex.

Two scenarios are generally possible. Either alcohol delays the degradation of the drug, prolonging its action in the body and thus its side effects. Or, conversely, ethanol accelerates the digestion of molecules, making the treatment much less effective.

The drugs of the nervous system: the most dangerous association

Overall, alcohol acts on the central nervous system. It plays a depressant role on the brain, just like other drugs, such as anxiolytics, sleeping pills , neuroleptics and sedatives. By acting on the same receptors, alcohol will boost the effects of these drugs, especially the sedative effects. This mixture is totally out of the question because, beyond drowsiness or confusion, the combination can lead to respiratory distress, coma, or even death.

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These contraindications also concern opiates or certain antihistamines. According to a famous  Center for Disease Control (CDC), alcohol is involved in 22% of deaths caused by an opioid analgesic . One thing is sure therefore: alcohol is very strongly discouraged in cases of anxiolytic, hypnotic, opiate or neuroleptic treatment.

Increased vigilance for antiepileptic drugs and some anticoagulants

While alcohol can sometimes exacerbate the side effects of certain rehab for women drugs, it can also, on the contrary, accelerate their digestion and thus limit their effectiveness. ” Ethanol is a small molecule easily absorbed by the digestive mucosa, 80% being intestinal, ” says Inserm, in a collective expertise. In the digestive system, alcohol will monopolize the same enzymes as some drugs, then competing with these treatments. Depending on the molecules, either the metabolism of the treatment is accelerated or it is slowed down.For example, daily consumption of alcohol, combined with antiepileptic treatment , will make it less effective. The body, by eliminating the treatment more quickly, exposes the patient to the risk of seizures [1]. Conversely, alcohol can slow the degradation of certain molecules, thus boosting their effects. This is for example the case of warfarin, which prevents the formation of blood clots . Mixed with alcohol, this molecule makes the blood even more fluid and puts you at risk of hemorrhaging.

Bill Benter

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