Over-the-counter medications may seem safer because they don't require a prescription. But they can still interact badly when alcohol enters the mix.
The American Academy of Family Physicians mentions these popular medications that may have adverse effects if mixed with alcohol:
- NSAID pain relievers, which may lead to gastrointestinal bleeding if taken while consuming as few as two alcoholic drink per week.
- Acetaminophen, which may cause liver damage when taken with alcohol.
- Some OTC antihistamines can make you drowsy when taken with alcohol.
- Decongestants and cough medications that contain the cough suppressant dextromethorphan can increase drowsiness when taken with alcohol.
- Herbal supplements, such as kava kava, St. John's wort or valerian root, may increase drowsiness if taken with alcohol.
Health Tip: Binge Drinking's Risks
Binge drinking occurs when the number of alcoholic drinks consumed in a short period raises a person's blood alcohol level to 0.08 grams percent or above, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This works out to consuming in two hours about five drinks for the average man and four drinks for the average woman, the agency said.
The CDC cites these dangers of binge drinking:
- Increased risk of car accidents, burns, drowning and falls.
- Increased risk of involvement in assault, domestic violence or other forms of intentional injury.
- Increased risk of alcohol poisoning, and having a child with fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Increased risk of getting pregnant unintentionally or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease and neurological damage.
- Increased risk of poorly managed diabetes.