Prednisone And Alcohol : Are They Safe To Take Together ?
Alcohol can worsen the side effects of prednisone, such as weight gain. It may not be safe for people with certain medical conditions to drink alcohol while taking prednisone.
Prednisone is a synthetic form of an adrenocortical steroid that healthcare professionals prescribe to treat several different conditions. It can help balance hormones in people whose adrenal glands do not produce enough corticosteroids.
Prednisone belongs to the corticosteroid class of medications. These are powerful anti-inflammatories and can help treat diseases that cause inflammation, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. Prednisone reduces inflammation by altering the function of the immune system.
In this article, we explore the side effects of prednisone and alcohol and if they might be safe to use together.
Prednisone and Alcohol Interaction
The package label for prednisone does not indicate a direct interaction between alcohol and prednisone, and clinical studies on the safety of drinking alcohol while taking prednisone are lacking.
However, prednisone is known to affect metabolism — how the body breaks down food into energy. The body convertsTrusted Source prednisone to prednisolone, which the liver then metabolizes before a person excretes in the urine. Because the liver also metabolizes alcohol, it is possible prednisone may change the effects of alcohol on the body. Alternatively, alcohol may alter the way the body metabolizes prednisone.
The question of whether you can drink on steroids, or particularly prednisone, could depend on several factors, including:
- how large the dosage of prednisone is
- whether it is a short- or long-term course of treatment
- how much alcohol the person drinks
- medical conditions the person has
In general, a person’s doctor can best determine whether mixing prednisone with alcohol will be safe.
Prednisone is a potent and versatile steroid prescribed for different purposes. It is often prescribed for the short-term treatment of allergic and inflammatory conditions, although it can also be prescribed for chronic conditions. While it can be a useful drug, prednisone does not come without potential side effects and drug interactions. Some side effects of prednisone may be worsened with alcohol, depending on the amount of alcohol consumption.
Having an occasional drink or two while taking prednisone is unlikely to cause severe side effects. However, frequent or heavy drinking can have serious effects on prednisone treatment and the body. In this post, we’ll explore the use of prednisone, the potential side effects of mixing prednisone and alcohol, and whether it’s safe to drink alcohol with prednisone.
What is prednisone?
Prednisone is a glucocorticoid drug that belongs to a broader group of drugs called corticosteroids, which are synthetic versions of natural steroid hormones. As a steroid drug, prednisone helps decrease inflammation in the body.
You may be prescribed prednisone by a healthcare provider for various reasons. Prednisone is used to treat inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. It may also be prescribed to treat serious allergic reactions, certain types of cancer, and inflammation from conditions of the eyes, skin, lungs, stomach, and intestines. For people with low corticosteroid levels, prednisone can help replace steroids naturally produced in the adrenal glands.
Prednisone is available as an oral tablet, delayed-release tablet, and liquid solution. The dosage can vary based on the dosage form and treated condition. However, regular prednisone tablets may be taken multiple times per day. Brand names of prednisone include Rayos and Deltasone.
What Are The Side Effects Of Short Term Prednisone Use ?
Most patients do not develop side effects if taking steroid tablets for short periods. Side effects may occur with long-term use and/or the sudden withdrawal of the medication after 1 week of continued intake.
Common side effects of prednisone include:
- Adrenal suppression
- Changes in fat distribution
- Changes in mood and personality
- Decreased libido
- Delayed wound healing
- Eye bulging
- Increased hair growth
- Increased sweating
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods
- Red or purple blotches or lines under the skin
- Sleeping disorders
- Thin, fragile skin
- Weak muscles
Most side effects subside once treatment stops. Prescribers typically taper the drug into smaller dosages before its discontinuation to decrease its bothersome side effects. Patients should discuss with their doctor if they persist or bother them.
What Is Prednisone Used For?
Steroid tablets are made of synthetic hormones to replace the cortisol normally produced in the adrenal glands. Steroids reduce inflammation and can treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, and Crohn’s disease.
Steroids suppress the immune system, the body’s natural defense against illness and infection. This can help treat autoimmune conditions.
Common examples of steroid tablets include prednisolone, betamethasone, and dexamethasone. Steroid tablets are available by prescription and also come in dissolvable, liquid, and syrup versions. They should be stored at room temperature.
Can you Drink Alcohol with Prednisone?
The FDA does not warn against drinking while on prednisone. And for many, drinking alcohol in moderation while taking prednisolone could be considered safe. However, drinking while on prednisone may carry heightened risks for some based on prednisone’s effect on lowering the immune system and the side effects of alcohol use. Abstaining from drinking alcohol while on prednisone treatment is always the best option.
For patients with existing medical conditions, drinking alcohol while on prednisone is not recommended. Patients should always consult with their doctor before drinking alcohol with prednisone to avoid possible complications.
Side Effects of Mixing Prednisone and Alcohol
Short-term side effects may include :
- Indigestion and stomach upset
- Weakened immune system and greater susceptibility to illness
- Mood changes and anxiety
- High blood sugar
- High blood pressure
Long-term side effects:
- Ulcerative colitis and peptic ulcers
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Brittle bone disorders, bone fractures, and osteoporosis
- Greater risk for type 2 diabetes
- Slower healing
- Weight gain
Dangers of Mixing Prednisone and Alcohol
Long-term use of prednisone and alcohol is linked to an increased risk of certain health problems.
The dangers of mixing prednisone and alcohol include:
- Suppressed immune system and increased risk of infection
- A decrease in bone density and risk of developing bone disorders including osteoporosis, idiopathic osteonecrosis of the femoral head, and fractures
- Increased blood sugar levels and risk of developing type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications
- Irritation of stomach lining and risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders including ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, and heartburn
- Mood changes and increased risk of developing depression and anxiety
- Increased risk of developing decreased quality of self-care and difficulty managing chronic illness
Patients with pre-existing conditions carry greater risks of developing complications than others. Patients should always speak with their healthcare provider first to avoid complications and learn if drinking while on prednisone is safe for them.
What Else Should You Not Take With Prednisone?
Over 484 drugs are known to interact with prednisone (Drug Interactions).
Common drugs that interact with prednisone include:
- Birth control pills and other hormones
- Blood pressure medications & blood thinners
- Diuretics or “water pills”
- Hepatitis C medications
- HIV or AIDS medicines
- Immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporine
- Insulin or diabetes medications
- NSAIDs, including aspirin and ibuprofen
- Seizure medications
- St. John’s wort
- Tuberculosis medications
Patients taking steroid tablets should also avoid vaccines because steroids suppress the immune system and make them more susceptible to viruses and illnesses.
In patients who really need to receive the weakened type of vaccine, they may do so with the supervision of a health professional. Check with your doctor what medications you may receive.
Before taking prednisone, patients should tell their healthcare provider what other medications, vitamins, herbal products, and nutritional supplements they take or plan to take to ensure that prednisone is safe for them.
Prednisone and Alcohol FAQs
Does alcohol kill prednisone?
There is no evidence that alcohol kills prednisone or renders it ineffective. But alcohol abuse and addiction can cause a patient to ignore important habits of self-care, crucial to patients who use prednisone for the treatment of chronic illnesses.
The effects of alcohol abuse and addiction make it difficult for patients to maintain their medication regimens, which may cause complications. In addition, alcohol can enhance prednisone’s immunosuppressive effects, which may make the patient susceptible to additional illnesses.
What does prednisone do to your body?
Prednisone suppresses the body’s immune system and has anti-inflammatory effects. Prednisone can help lower certain immune-related symptoms such as inflammation and swelling by preventing the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.
Should I drink more water while taking prednisone?
Drinking too much water can cause excessive fluid retention. This can lead to water intoxication. The usual 8-10 glasses of water allowance per day is still applicable while on prednisone.
U.S. National Library of Medicine DailyMed. Prednisone. Available at: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=3115aef0-fd50-4ec8-a064-3effb695f3f2. [Accessed August 22,2022].
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Harmful Interactions. Available at: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines. [Accessed August 22, 2022].
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol’s Effects on the Body. Available at: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body. [Accessed August 22, 2022].
Willans K and Coy A. Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Prednisone? Updated August 16, 2022. Addiction Group. https://www.addictiongroup.org/drugs/other/prednisone-alcohol/ [Accessed August 22, 2022].
Related medical questions
- What is considered a high dose of prednisone?
- What is considered a high dose of prednisone ?
- How long can you take prednisone safely?
- How long does it take for prednisone to work?
- Do i take all 6 prednisone pills at once on the first day?
- Methylprednisolone vs Prednisone – What’s the difference between them?
- How long does prednisone stay in your system?
- Prednisone vs Prednisolone – What’s the difference?
- Does prednisone cause a rapid heart rate?
- I just took 800 mg ibuprofen and 30 mg of prednisone. Is that going to be ok?
- Why does prednisone cause weight gain?
- How long does it take prednisone to get out of your system?
- What are the side effects of steroids?
- Does prednisone make you sleepy?
- Can prednisone raise blood pressure?
- Is it safe to take ibuprofen right after taking prednisone?