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Is it OK to drink alcohol with Prednisone?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 22, 2022.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Although there is no direct drug interaction between prednisone and alcohol, mixing them together is not a good idea because some of the effects of alcohol and the side effects of prednisone are similar, so taking both at the same time can increase the risk of these side effects occurring.

Some of the possible side effects of prednisone that may be enhanced by alcohol include:

  • Changes in blood sugar levels
  • Damage to the stomach and GI tract (may result in stomach irritation or a peptic ulcer)
  • Dehydration with electrolyte imbalances
  • Development of diabetes type 2
  • Immune system suppression
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mood changes
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Slower wound healing
  • Suppression of the adrenal glands
  • Weight gain.

The risk of side effects increases with the dose and duration of prednisone treatment. Higher doses and longer durations of prednisone increase the risk for side effects. Whether it is safe to drink alcohol while on prednisone depends on the dosage of the medication, the length of the course of treatment, how frequently a person uses alcohol, and other conditions the person may have. In some cases, having the occasional glass or two of alcohol may be safe during treatment with low-dose prednisone. Talk to your doctor about using 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. Excessive and regular alcohol consumption is not recommended.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid, and it is used to reduce inflammation or suppress the immune system. It is used to treat many different diseases, and the range of dosing is wide. Some diseases require just a short duration of treatment with prednisone, while others may require a person to take it for longer periods of time or take repeated short courses.

References
  1. 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].
  2. 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].
  3. 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].
  4. 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].

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