Cholesterol Medications and Alcohol Interactions
Medically reviewed by L. Anderson, PharmD Last updated on Apr 18, 2019.
Can you drink alcohol while taking cholesterol medication? HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, also called statins, are a widely prescribed group of medications used to lower high cholesterol and other lipids (hyperlipidemia) in addition to diet. Statins are used to help protect the heart and vascular system and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. Statins work by lowering LDL (low density lipoproteins, or “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides, or by raising HDL (high density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol).
- Alcohol and cholesterol medications known as statins: you may consider moderating your alcohol intake because statins mixed with alcohol may elevate triglyceride levels and possibly lead to liver damage. If you drink more than 2 glasses of alcohol daily, discuss this with your doctor.
- Patients using cholesterol medications and alcohol who have liver disease due to excessive alcohol use or who consume large quantities of alcohol should alert their doctor to this issue. Statins can lead to liver disease in roughly 2% of patients, and ongoing monitoring of liver function may be needed. You should not use statins if you have active liver disease or elevated liver enzymes. Your doctor will check your liver enzymes before starting a statin.
- High cholesterol and alcohol use can be linked if alcohol is consumed chronically and excessively.
Niacin, a B vitamin, may be used to lower cholesterol in addition to diet. Niacin may lower total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides and raise HDL levels.
- Avoid alcohol at the time of niacin administration due to an increased risk of flushing and itching.
- Tell your doctor if you have liver disease or consume large amounts of alcohol on a chronic basis. Niacin should not be used if you have a history of or current liver disease.
Juxtapid (lomitapide) and Kynamro (mipomersen sodium) are medications used in patients with an inherited type of high cholesterol. These are considered specialty drugs, are often expensive, and you will get your medication through a specialty pharmacy.
- There is a risk of liver toxicity with these drugs. Drinking alcohol with these drugs may increase your chance of having liver problems or make your liver problems worse.
- It is important you limit alcohol consumption to no more than one alcohol-containing drink per day.
- If you have symptoms of liver injury (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, yellow skin or whites of the eyes, extreme tiredness, flu-like symptoms) contact your doctor immediately.
Common Cholesterol Medications
|Generic Name||Brand Name|
|niacin (vitamin B3)||Niaspan, Niacin SR, Slo-Niacin|
*Note: This is not a complete list; always check with your pharmacist for possible drug-alcohol interactions.
Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol
- Acne Medicines and Alcohol
- ADHD Medications and Alcohol
- Allergies, Cough/Cold Medications and Alcohol
- Antibiotic Medications and Alcohol
- Antidepressant Medications and Alcohol
- Antipsychotic Medications and Alcohol
- Anxiety Medications and Alcohol
- Bipolar Medications and Alcohol
- Birth Control Medications and Alcohol
- Blood Thinners and Alcohol
- Caffeine, Energy Drinks and Alcohol
- Diabetes Medications and Alcohol
- Enlarged Prostate (BPH) medications and Alcohol
- Erectile Dysfunction Medications and Alcohol
- Heart Medications and Alcohol
- Herbal Supplements and Alcohol
- Illicit Drugs and Alcohol
- Motion Sickness Medications and Alcohol
- Muscle Relaxants and Alcohol
- Pain / Fever Medications and Alcohol
- Seizure Medications and Alcohol
- Sleep (Insomnia) Medications and Alcohol
- Stomach / Heartburn Medications and Alcohol
- Weight Loss Drugs and Alcohol
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.