Alcohol dramatically increases the effects of some drugs, making some medications up to three times more available to the body – effectively tripling the intended dose, a new Swedish study shows.
The findings, reported in the American Chemical Society journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, provide yet another reason to avoid adult beverages while taking certain medicines, in addition to such well-known negative drug-alcohol interactions as stomach bleeding and liver damage. SPECIAL: Stop Your Sugar Addiction With These 4 Tips
Lead researcher Christel Bergström and colleagues noted alcohol boosts the amount of non-prescription and prescription drugs "available" to the body after taking a specific dose. Alcohol can also change how enzymes and other substances in the body interact with many of the 5,000 medications on the market.
For the new study, researchers tested whether alcohol makes drugs dissolve more easily in the gastrointestinal tract, making them more available in the body and boosting their effects. They found that 60 percent of the 22 medications in their tests dissolved much faster in the presence of alcohol.
In addition, certain types of substances, such as those that were acidic, were more affected by alcohol. Among the most common acidic drugs: warfarin, Tamoxifen, and naproxen.
The study was funded, in part, by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems and the Medical Products Agency-Sweden.