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Weight Loss Drugs and Alcohol Interactions

Written by L. Anderson, PharmD on Nov 7, 2017.

Obesity or weight loss drugs may be prescribed in the short-term or the longer-term as an adjunct to diet to treat weight gain.

Many weight loss medications, such as the amphetamine derivatives, appear to work in the central nervous system (CNS) which can lead to additive drug interactions with alcohol. Dizziness, depression, and problems with concentration, judgement or thinking may occur. Hazardous activities such as driving or operating dangerous machinery should be avoided until you are aware how the medication will affect you.

The use of CNS stimulant weight loss drugs should be avoided with the use of alcohol, especially in patients with heart disease. Stimulant weight loss drugs when combined with alcohol can lead to dangerous cardiovascular (heart) side effects such as rapid heart rate, chest pain, and blood pressure changes. Many weight loss or obesity drugs are also scheduled controlled substances and have addictive potential.

Alcohol may affect blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes, and patients should discuss the use of alcohol in general with their doctor. Both hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may occur when combined.

Not all weight loss drugs have drug interactions with alcohol; for example, lorcaserin (Belviq, Belviq XR) and orlistat (Alli, Xenical) do not list alcohol drug interactions in their product labeling. Nonetheless, always check for drug interactions with your pharmacist or doctor and determine if it is safe to combine the two agents.

Learn More: Guide to Weight Loss Drugs

Common Obesity and Weight Loss Drugs:

Generic Name Common Brand Names
amphetamine Evekeo
benzphetamine Didrex, Regimex
bupropion/naltrexone Contrave
diethylpropion Tenuate, Tepanil
liraglutide Saxenda
phendimetrazine Bontril PDM, Bontril Slow Release
phentermine Adipex-P, Lomaira, Suprenza
phentermine/topiramate Qsymia

*This is not a complete list; always check with your pharmacist for possible drug-alcohol interactions.

Types of Drug Interactions With Alcohol

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