Tag Archives: mixing substances

Prednisone and Alcohol

Taken separately from one another and in their proper context and amounts, prednisone and alcohol have only mild potential side effects.

There are inherent dangers that arise when a person combines alcohol with prescription drugs. Some of the side effects can even be fatal.

Prednisone

Before investigating the mixture of Prednisone and alcohol, it may be helpful to first understand how the drug interacts with the brain and body.

Medical Application

Prednisone is a type of prescription steroid. Doctors prescribe it to treat conditions like asthma, arthritis, inflammation, or even allergies.

When consumed, prednisone lowers the activity of the body’s immune system. While this may seem alarming, doctors only prescribe this drug to patients who benefit from it, such as in cases of inflammation or severe allergies.

Reducing the activity of the immune system reduces the severity of the effects of their condition.

Side Effects

Prednisone interactions in the body may produce a variety of side effects. As a substance in the steroid family, some of the side effects might be irregular or uncommon compared to other substances, such as increased hair growth, red or purple lines under the skin, or increased sweating.

Prednisone’s common side effects are generally milder, and may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Mood Changes
  • Acne

Abuse Potential

Fortunately, prednisone is not an addictive substance. The effects of the substance are not habit-forming, so the likelihood of an individual forming a dependence is very low.

However, because the drug does affect the body’s typical functions, a person may still experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping doses.

Quick Rundown on Alcohol

Consuming excessive alcohol has a number of negative impacts on the body. While the liver, heart, and brain can be permanently damaged by alcohol consumption, the immune system is also weakened.

Regularly drinking alcohol in large amounts can have both short- and long-term impacts on the body’s effectiveness in fighting disease and regulating health.

Prednisone Interactions

Prednisone is a type of prescription steroid. Doctors prescribe it to treat conditions like asthma, arthritis, inflammation, or even allergies.

Though prednisone is not considered an addictive substance, an individual with a prescription might consume alcohol and not understand the risks of prednisone’s interactions with it. Or, someone might forget that they’ve recently consumed prednisone, and then drink alcohol.

If possible, it is important to avoid ingesting prednisone and alcohol while one or the other is active in the system. Anyone with a prednisone prescription should consult a doctor regarding the amount of time to wait to drink after dosage.

Impact of Interaction

Both of these substances reduce the effectiveness of the immune system. Drinking alcohol while on prednisone can severely limit the capabilities of the body’s defense mechanism.

This means that individuals who consume both of these substances might be particularly at risk for contagious diseases.

the likelihood of an individual forming a dependence is very low.

Additionally, a number of side effects have been observed in individuals who combine the alcohol and prednisone. These effects are significantly worse than those of either substance individually, including:

  • Coughing Up Blood
  • Pancreatic Inflammation
  • Eye Pain
  • Dangerously High Blood Pressure

These symptoms can be particularly intense when the amount taken of either substance is high. However the interaction may occur, the side effects are far from pleasant, and should be avoided.

Other Interactions

Though some interactions may seem harmless or even helpful, it is better to avoid combinations entirely, especially while on a steroid. Consistent drinking while on a prednisone treatment plan may make the body more susceptible to infection as both steroids and alcohol diminish the immune system.

While the side effects often vary, as a general rule, alcohol interacts poorly with prescription medications.

Alcohol, as a depressant, slows down body processes. Since both substances slow down body processes, mixing alcohol and depressants can result in coma or even death. Xanax, Ambien, and Luminal are all examples of depressant prescription medications.

Individuals who drink alcohol while on prednisone might be particularly at risk for contagious diseases.

When combined with a prescription stimulant, alcohol may counteract the effects of the drug, to the point where its medical application is no longer effective.

Additionally, an individual who combines the two may end up taking too much of a stimulant, in order to overcome the sedative feelings from the alcohol. Examples of common stimulant prescription medications include Adderall, Concerta, and Amphetamines.

Preventing Long-Term Damage from Prednisone and Alcohol

The ease of access and common use of alcohol means that prescription medications are often mixed with the drink–sometimes unintentionally.

These interactions can vary from slightly unpleasant to life-threatening. It is better to err on the side of caution, and avoid alcohol while taking medication.

Abusing either substance can also be dangerous. Combining medications such as prednisone and alcohol can have devastating effects on the body, and cause long-term damage. If you think you or a loved one is suffering from over-use of drugs or alcohol, contact us today.

Melatonin and Alcohol

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in humans. However, it is increasing in popularity as a supplement as a sleeping aid. When taken in its correct dose, melatonin is very effective. But what if you have been drinking and want to take melatonin? What are the risks? These are important questions to consider when taking any drug or combining drugs. Melatonin and alcohol are both common substances. While the combination is not deadly, there are potential risks to consider. It is important to consider this with any substances.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycles our bodies naturally develop. Melatonin releases during the night or evening as the light around us decreases. Long before the abundance of technology, there was no exposure to artificial light such as that produced by our cellphones and laptops. Historically, the setting sunlight and onset darkness were the only things to help the release of melatonin. Light stimulates the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) which resides in the hypothalamus part of the brain. With light exosure, the SCN sends signals to the brain to release certain hormones such as cortisol, increase body temperature and prevent the release of melatonin. However, without light, the SCN essentially allows for the release of melatonin. 

Most of us know the news reports and medical journals advising us to avoid cell phone use before bed. It is because that artificial ‘blue’ light keeps the SCN active. This is preventing the release of melatonin and making sleep more difficult to achieve. Melatonin is also a very powerful antioxidant and is known to regulate fat cells in the body.

melatonin and alcohol

Melatonin is an over-the-counter drug found in most vitamin aisles in stores. There is no need for a prescription. It is usually sold in its pill form, although liquid melatonin is available.

Melatonin Abuse and Addiction

Most people use melatonin to help them fall asleep and there are no well known cases of melatonin abuse. Some individuals experience a decrease in natural melatonin production as they get older. Thus, they take melatonin pills to supplement what their body is already producing. In addition, the supplement is seen as a helpful aid in dealing with jet lag. Generally, melatonin supplements are considered to be safe for short and long term use. Currently, there is little risk of developing an addiction.

melatonin and alcohol

There are no well documented cases of melatonin abuse or addiction. There is no risk of developing a dangerous tolerance as there is with other substances. Subsequently, if you take the same dose everyday you feel essentially the same effects. Although, some feel it is less effective after long-term use. Still, anyone with a family history of addiction, or for themselves, should discuss with a doctor.

How Much Melatonin is Too Much?

While melatonin is a naturally occurring chemical, it is important to take the correct amount. Too little is not enough to help you fall asleep. Further, with too much there are potentially negative effects. It is also possible too much interferes with your sleep cycle. Melatonin does not work the same for everyone. If you are looking for ways to sleep, consider speaking with a medical professional to find solutions.

melatonin and alcohol

Can You Overdose on Melatonin?

While it is important find balance with anything, there are no known cases of melatonin overdose. It is possible that taking too much causes unwanted side-effects such as extreme drowsiness and can cause very vivid dreams. In some cases, taking excessive dosages have been reported to little effect and rather made it more difficult to fall asleep.

Other effects of melatonin include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Low-blood Pressure
  • Tiredness the following day

Mixing Melatonin and Alcohol

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It has sedative effects on the body after just a few drinks. Even though alcohol seems to do essentially the same job as melatonin, mixing the two substances is never recommended. For some, alcohol helps with sleeping. However, it also promotes the release of stress hormones in the body that causes restlessness during sleep. Also, some studies show that alcohol inhibits the natural release of melatonin in the body. It potentially therefore interferes with any supplementation of the hormone. If you need to take melatonin, it is recommended that you wait around 2-3 hours after your last drink to consume melatonin. It is best not to combine another sedative with alcohol, a substance with potentially deadly sedative effects.

The Bottom Line

Melatonin is a rather harmless but useful supplement. Many people rely on it to have a good night’s rest. Some also rely on alcohol to achieve the same effects. Some refer to this as a ‘nightcap’. However, they frequently find that their sleep is more restless. Mixing the two substances is not likely to have deadly consequences as seen when mixing other drugs with alcohol. However, there are still potential negative side effects. Both are sedatives which is where some of the danger is.

Generally, mixing various substance with alcohol is a bad idea. Alcohol is the most abused drug in the world. Yet, the common usage makes it difficult to recognize when it is abuse or addiction. Few also recognize the dangers of alcohol. Further, its interactions with other drugs are potentially deadly. It is always best to discuss interactions of any substances with a medical professional if possible. Someone dealing with alcohol abuse or addiction is at risk. They likely do not realize the danger though of mixing something like melatonin with alcohol. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol abuse, please contact us today.

Resources:

Suprachiasmatic nucleus and melatonin – Neurology
Blue light has a dark side – Harvard Health Publishing
Significance and application of melatonin – NIH
Alcohol and Fatigue – Harvard Health Publishing