Medicines to look out for include those for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, pain (except paracetamol), sleep disturbances (such as insomnia), allergies, colds, and flu. It’s best not to drink alcohol with these medicines, or to keep your alcohol intake to a minimum.
2. Medicines + alcohol = more effects
Mixing alcohol with some medicines increases the effect of those medicines.
One example is with the sleeping tablet zolpidem, which is not to be taken with alcohol. Rare, but serious, side effects are strange behavior while asleep, such as sleep-eating, sleep-driving or sleep-walking, which are more likely with alcohol.
3. Medicines + craft beer or home brew = high blood pressure
Some types of medicines only interact with some types of alcohol.
Examples include some medicines for depression, such as phenelzine, tranylcypromine and moclobemide, the antibiotic linezolid, the Parkinson’s drug selegiline, and the cancer drug procarbazine.
These so-called monoamine oxidase inhibitors only interact with some types of boutique and artisan beers, beers with visible sediment, Belgian, Korean, European, and African beers, and home-made beers and wine.
These types of alcohol contain high levels of tyramine, a naturally occurring substance usually broken down by your body that doesn’t ordinarily cause any harm.
However, monoamine oxidase inhibitors prevent your body from breaking down tyramine. This increases levels in your body and can cause your blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels.
4. Medicines + alcohol = effects even after you stop drinking
Other medicines interact because they affect the way your body breaks down alcohol.
If you drink alcohol while using such medicines you may you feel nauseous, vomit, become flushed in the face and neck, feel breathless or dizzy, your heart may beat faster than usual, or your blood pressure may drop.