July 2024

Watch Out for these Beer and Wine Drug Interactions

The summer months are here. With Fourth of July celebrations and summer vacations in full swing, this is a good time to remind patients about possible drug interactions with beer and wine. There are a few classes to keep an eye on.

Talk to patients taking antidepressants. Beer and wine both contain tyramine, which is metabolized by the enzyme monoamine oxidase. So taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can lead to large amounts of tyramine in the blood, causing very high blood pressure. Make sure patients understand this risk – sensitivity to tyramine can increase 10- to 100-fold in people taking an MAOI.

Also give clarity on antibiotics – there tends to be confusion about whether it’s okay to drink alcohol or not. Certain antibiotics, such as doxycycline, might be less effective in patients who are regular drinkers. Consider using a different antibiotic in these cases. Also watch out for erythromycin – it can increase blood alcohol levels and the effects of drinking, making patients feel more intoxicated. Similarly, taking metronidazole with alcohol might cause a disulfiram-like reaction – leading to nausea and general hangover-like symptoms.

Lastly, remind patients not to use common painkillers like ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen. Taking ibuprofen or aspirin while drinking can increase the risk of stomach bleeding. And drinking while using acetaminophen can lead to severe liver damage.

There are many other drug-alcohol interactions to watch out for, including interactions with antihypertensives and antidiabetes drugs. Check out our monographs and take advantage of our Interaction Checker to learn more.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.