Can You Mix Weight Loss Drugs and Alcohol?
Obesity or weight loss drugs may be prescribed in the short-term or the longer-term in addition to diet and exercise to treat weight gain. But even if you are losing weight with medications, you might like to have a beer or a glass of wine every once in a while. So the question is - do weight loss drugs have interactions with alcohol?
Yes, many weight loss drugs can interact with alcohol. Weight loss medications, such as the amphetamine derivatives like phentermine work in the brain (also known as the central nervous system or CNS). Adding alcohol to weight loss medications can lead to side effects with both drugs.
The effects of adding alcohol to certain weight loss medications can include:
- mental depression
- problems with concentration, judgement or thinking
- altered mental alertness which can make driving or operating machinery hazardous
- dangerous heart side effects
The use of CNS stimulant weight loss drugs should be avoided with the use of alcohol, especially in patients with heart disease. When these amphetamine-like drugs are combined with alcohol, dangerous cardiovascular (heart) side effects such as rapid heart rate, chest pain, and blood pressure changes can occur.
Many weight loss or obesity drugs are also controlled substances and have addictive potential and can be misused.
Alcohol may affect blood glucose (blood sugar) levels in patients with diabetes. In general, moderate alcohol consumption generally does not affect blood sugar levels if your diabetes is under control. However, both hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may occur, based on how much you drink and how often.
Many diabetes medications may lead to hypoglycemia as well, so it's best to ask your doctor about drinking alcohol if you have diabetes.
Contrave should not be used in patients undergoing an abrupt discontinuation of alcohol. Combining alcohol with bupropion or abruptly stopping alcohol use can increase the risk of a seizure. Liver toxicity may be increased if you combine alcohol with naltrexone. If you frequently or excessively consume alcohol, discuss this with your doctor before starting treatment with bupropion and naltrexone (Contrave).
Learn More: Guide to Weight Loss Drugs
Table 1: Common Obesity and Weight Loss Drugs
|Generic Name||Common Brand Names|
|amphetamine||Evekeo, Evekeo ODT|
|bupropion and naltrexone||Contrave|
|diethylpropion||not available, generic only|
|lorcaserin (generic discontinued)||Belviq, Belviq XR (brands discontinued)|
|phentermine and topiramate||Qsymia|
*This is not a complete list; always check with your pharmacist for possible drug-alcohol interactions.
Do all weight loss drugs interaction with alcohol?
Not all weight loss drugs have drug interactions with alcohol; for example, orlistat (Alli, Xenical) does not list alcohol drug interactions in their product labeling. Nonetheless, always check for drug interactions with your pharmacist or doctor to determine if it's safe to combine the two agents.
Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol
- Acne Medicines and Alcohol Interactions
- ADHD Medications and Alcohol
- Allergies, Cough/Cold Medications and Alcohol
- Antibiotic Medications and Alcohol
- Antidepressant Medications and Alcohol Interactions
- Antipsychotic Medications and Alcohol
- Anxiety Medications and Alcohol
- Bipolar Medications and Alcohol
- Birth Control Medications and Alcohol
- Blood Thinners and Alcohol: A Dangerous Mix?
- Caffeine, Energy Drinks and Alcohol
- Cholesterol Medications and Alcohol
- Diabetes Medications and Alcohol
- Enlarged Prostate (BPH) Medications and Alcohol Interactions
- Erectile Dysfunction Medications and Alcohol
- Heart Medications and Alcohol
- Herbal Supplements and Alcohol
- Illicit Drugs and Alcohol Interactions
- Motion Sickness Drugs and Alcohol Interactions
- Muscle Relaxants and Alcohol Interactions
- Pain / Fever Drugs and Alcohol Interactions
- Seizure Medications and Alcohol Interactions
- Sleep (Insomnia) Medications and Alcohol
- Stomach / Heartburn Medications and Alcohol
- Side Effects of Weight Loss Drugs (Diet Pills)
- Surgery for Weight Loss: What Are Your Options?
- Weight Loss and Diet Pills: Options to Know
- Prescription Medications to Treat Overweight and Obesity. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Accessed Nov. 10, 2019 at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/prescription-medications-treat-overweight-obesity
- Product Information. Contrave (bupropion and naltrexone). DailyMed. Accessed Nov. 10, 2019 at https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm
- Mendelson J, Jones RT, Upton R, Jacob P. Methamphetamine and ethanol interactions in humans. Clin Pharmacol Ther 57 (1995): 559-68.
- Product Information. Adipex-P (phentermine). Teva Pharmaceuticals, Sellersville, PA. Accessed Nov. 11, 2019.
- Wegovy (semaglutide) product label. Novo Nordisk. Plainsboro, NJ. Accessed June 8, 2021 at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/215256s000lbl.pdf
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.