Author: James Anderson

Alcohol-Medication Interactions: Potentially Dangerous Mixes National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA

hydrocodone and alcohol

Recently, naloxone has been spread widely among emergency responders, pharmacies, and even caregivers, to prevent deadly opioid overdoses. This drug is short-acting, but it temporarily reverses an opioid overdose, giving emergency responders the time they need to treat the individual. However, when other substances like alcohol are involved in the overdose, naloxone may be less effective. This drug only works to stop opioid overdoses, not overdoses on other kinds of drugs. Administering naloxone may help to stop opioid-caused symptoms, but the person may still suffer due to excessive alcohol consumption. Fortunately, educating patients about the risks of combining medications with alcohol may help them avoid negative outcomes.

But combining the prescription opioid hydrocodone with alcohol can produce a range of health effects, from drowsiness to severe liver problems. This article looks at how opioids affect the body, how alcohol affects the body, the lethal potential of combining the two, and other harmful side effects of mixing alcohol and opioids. Alcohol and opioids are both depressants, meaning they lead to relaxation, pleasure, changes to breathing and heart rate, and trouble thinking clearly or remembering events. When two drugs both cause these as side effects, mixing them increases the likelihood that a person will pass out, stop breathing, or suffer heart failure and die.

Opioid users might also engage in something known as doctor shopping, where they bounce from doctor to doctor to ensure an ongoing prescription to the medication of their choosing. Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet contain acetaminophen, a substance used to treat minor aches and pains. When mixed with alcohol, acetaminophen breaks down into a toxic product that can lead to liver damage.

hydrocodone and alcohol

This adaptation results in what is known as tolerance—where the user will be required to increase the amount of drugs used or begin to use them more frequently to approximate the initial high. Do not suddenly stop or change your dose without first checking with your doctor. Oftentimes, opiate and opioid users will become very isolated and withdrawn from the family. They are often sedated, sleepy, nodding off or confused, and their involvement in activities will prove rather limited as a result.

Graduate School of Addiction Studies

First, Vicodin and other hydrocodone-based prescription drugs are highly addictive, in part because of their potency. The effects of opioid drugs on a person’s neurochemistry are extremely powerful. But prescription painkillers are also dangerous because people may let their guard down in regard to the dangers when these medications are prescribed by a trusted doctor or healthcare provider.

  1. Oftentimes, opiate and opioid users will become very isolated and withdrawn from the family.
  2. In closing, combining alcohol with certain medications, particularly those with sedative effects, can increase the risk of adverse events, including falls, driving accidents, and fatal overdoses.
  3. The study found that when a person combines alcohol with oxycodone, the number of times they temporarily stop breathing increases significantly, especially in elderly participants.
  4. This drug only works to stop opioid overdoses, not overdoses on other kinds of drugs.
  5. This helpline is available 24 hours a day and treats all provided information in utmost confidentiality and security.

Cough syrup and laxatives may have some of the highest alcohol concentrations. Because of the possible consequences, many will need to detox under supervision. Over an extended period, alcohol use can lead to increased incidences of liver problems and even some forms of cancer. Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.

Careers – Join Our Team

Individuals may double up on various substances as a way to augment the experience of each. At least initially, the separate highs or euphoric effects of both substances serve to supplement the other, resulting in a synergized reward that the brain quickly takes note of. Vicodin is a pharmaceutical drug and a composite mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

People can unwittingly become dependent or addicted to painkillers very quickly. Prescription painkillers often contain opioids, and someone can easily misuse legally prescribed medications and become dependent or addicted to them. Many people with opioid use disorders started with a prescription medication for pain management as a result of an injury or health condition. Not to mention, mixing painkillers with alcohol can create an overdose and prove fatal. Polydrug abuse, especially involving two depressants like hydrocodone and alcohol, is extremely dangerous.

Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. Also, lying down for a while may relieve dizziness or lightheadedness. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Seeking help for addiction may feel daunting or even scary, but several organizations can provide support. While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we’ll use this information to improve our online help.

There is no specific limit to how much this could be because it depends on how large the dose is per pill or how the drug is consumed. If a person overdoses on hydrocodone, it is extremely important to call 911. The person needs emergency medical attention to survive and mitigate long-term damage. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported that, in 2015, there were more than 16 million people who struggled with just alcohol use disorder (AUD). Even more struggled with binge drinking or heavy drinking, which also cause harmful effects on the body. The effects of mixing Vicodin and alcohol can be fatal, but you don’t have to let this addiction kill you.

Core Resource on Alcohol

In simpler words, it moderates breathing, heart rate and brain function. If a person takes alcohol in combination with opioid medications, their breathing rate may become so depressed that their brain does not receive enough oxygen. If this happens, organs may begin to shut down, and the person may eventually experience brain complications, coma, or death.

The risk of a fatal overdose is much higher when drugs are combined to get high. If a person struggles with alcohol abuse, opioid addiction, or both, they need medically supervised detox and evidence-based rehabilitation to overcome these dangerous conditions. In closing, combining alcohol with certain medications, particularly those with sedative effects, can increase the risk of adverse events, including falls, driving accidents, and fatal overdoses. The more alcohol a patient consumes, the greater the risk for alcohol and medication interactions. Universal screening, careful prescribing choices, and patient education can help minimize the risks of combining alcohol with certain medications.

Support Your Recovery

To prevent this, your doctor may direct you to take laxatives, drink a lot of fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Be sure to follow the directions carefully, because continuing constipation can lead to more serious problems. Alcohol is found in many over-the-counter medicines, including cough syrups.