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Alcohol and drugs: here’s why it’s a combination to avoid

September 26, 2018

Alcohol has the power to make the effect of drugs up to three times stronger. That’s why drinking alcoholic beverages after taking most of the medications is absolutely to be avoided. Dr. Maria Fazio, head of the Humanitas pharmacy, explained why.


Ethanol dissolves active ingredients

A study published in the Molecular Pharmaceutics Journal and conducted by Swedish researchers at the University of Uppsala highlighted the dangers of the interaction between alcohol and certain drugs. According to the study, ethanol is able to make the active ingredient of more than 5,000 pharmacological products on the market more available to the body, changing the way in which enzymes and other substances in the body interact with drugs. The reason: It is the ability of this substance to dissolve what usually stops in the gastrointestinal tract of the body, particularly in the stomach or intestines.


The drugs tested

Among the various drugs tested, researchers have tried common anticoagulants, painkillers, anticancer drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs, for a total of twenty-two products. Of these, almost 60% dissolved more quickly in the presence of alcohol.


In all cases, this possible effect was indicated in the package leaflet, which should always be read with caution. Before taking an alcoholic beverage it is in any case good to remember that this could affect the effects of ingested medicines.

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