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Your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist has a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of health topics. If you have a question about your health or medication, chances are, your Express Scripts Canada pharmacist knows the answer.

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"I’m taking a few different medications on an ongoing basis. Can I still have a drink from time to time?”

Answer from Express Scripts Canada Pharmacist, Jessica Lau:

With holiday party season upon us, this question couldn’t come at a better time. If you don’t usually drink, you may not know how your medications will interact with alcohol, so always err on the side of caution.

Here are a few guidelines to help you avoid problems:

  • Don’t drink if you’re taking any medication that can make you drowsy, whether it’s a prescription, or over-the-counter. In extreme cases, the combined effect could lead to serious respiratory issues.
  • Generally, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids and painkillers can have a sedative effect. Even acetaminophen can be problematic when mixed with alcohol.
  • You’ve probably heard about opiates and opioids. These drugs are powerful painkillers, and you should never drink while taking them.
  • Remember, the effects of alcohol and medications are cumulative. If you do drink, limit how much. You may think you know how many drinks you can handle, but that could change if you’re taking medications.
  • Some antibiotics may also have negative interactions with alcohol. Even if it’s not dangerous, the alcohol might interfere with you getting better.
  • To be sure, always read the label. And follow instructions from your pharmacist.

The holidays are a joyful time. Have fun, but always be safe.

Until next time, I’m Jessica Lau and this has been ‘Ask the Pharmacist’.

I wish you good health.


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