Is it advisable to consume alcohol with my medicines?

Q. Would drinking alcohol interfere with my medicines?

Answered by
Dr. Sadaf Mustafa
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 16, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jun 30, 2023

Hi doctor,

I am suffering from the following symptoms. Left lower abdomen pain, constant mushy stools (twice had blood), constant watery stools, heart twitches a couple of times a day, abdomen hurts more when I sit or lay down. I am a chronic alcoholic. I have searched in the internet resources and was horrified when I matched with the symptoms of colon cancer. I went to the ER that night. I had barely quit drinking two days prior to that. The doctor said that he does not think it is colon cancer. They took my blood, urine, EKG and x-ray. They gave an IV drip or saline and painkiller. The doctor also gave me Lorazepam 1 mg for anxiety and sleepless nights. This is due to my student loans and taxes being so far behind and so I drank way too much for many years. He also prescribed me Labetalol 100 mg for high cholesterol and Ondansetron 4 mg for nausea and vomiting, which they said I will be experiencing during withdrawals. The doctor advised me not to quit alcohol cold turkey. My drink of choice was plain vodka. He said to take the amount I normally drink, cut it in half and add the other half as water. Then gradually decrease the amount of alcohol until I have weaned myself off. Would that interfere with medicines, especially Lorazepam?



Welcome to Lorazepam should not be taken with alcohol since both can cause respiratory suppression if you over do it. Having said that this is the drug of choice to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It has a short half life, so requires multiple doses in a day. I would suggest tapper yourself off like the way suggested and use Lorazepam only if you feel like you may be undergoing withdrawal. In that way, you will be avoiding potential harm and only treating your symptoms. Your left lower quadrant pain can be due to acute diverticulitis, ureteric or kidney stones, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome or infectious colitis, or colon cancer (very down on the list). But, if you have a family history of colon cancer, then you should consider colonoscopy depending upon their age at the time of diagnosis. I guess that all your laboratory tests were normal. Please upload them if you can. I will be interested in seeing CT scan with contrast. Get a colonoscopy for sure if diarrhea with bleeding recurs to rule out inflammatory bowel disease. If your uncomfortable feeling and mushy stools comes back, then you might need to consult your gastroenterologist for antibiotic treatment and colonoscopy.

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