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.
Before investigating the mixture of Prednisone and alcohol, it may be helpful to first understand how the drug interacts with the brain and body.
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.
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:
- Trouble Sleeping
- Mood Changes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.