Consumer Reports: When Medication and Alcohol Don't Mix

Drinking alcohol while taking medication is more common than you think.

But some commonly used drugs when taken with alcohol can make alcohol more potent.

"In other cases taking medication while drinking can actually increase their effect or cause potentially harmful side effects," said Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports.

For example: anti-anxiety drugs like Valium or Ativan. Taking them with alcohol can cause dizziness, drowsiness or very slow breathing, and increases the risk of an overdose. 

The same goes for opioids like Vicodin, Percocet and Demerol.

Mixing alcohol and antibiotics such as Azithromycin can cause nausea and vomiting. And Doxycycline can even reduce it's ability to fight infection.

Many over-the-counter drugs can also interact with alcohol.

"Some antihistamines like Dimetapp, Zyrtec or Benadryl Allergy can cause increased drowsiness," said Gill. "Even common pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol can be dangerous when taken with too many drinks."

The health risks can increase when people take more than one medication. 

Blood pressure medicines can cause various heart problems when taken with alcohol. If you're on the blood thinner Coumadin and have more than 3 drinks it could increase the risk of a stroke.

So if you're on medication think twice before you reach for that drink.

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