Alcohol is a serious health hazard and we all know that. Likewise, excess consumption of over-the-counter painkillers and drugs is also dangerous. Now imagine the effect of these two on your health when taken together? Excess of alcohol can be harmful to your liver, but when it is combined with certain painkillers, the condition may just worsen. And if you are on regular medication, prescribed drugs, you are at risk of a dangerous reaction. Our expert Dr. Sushila Kataria says that mixing alcohol and painkillers can lead to cumulative reactions.
Dr. Kataria explains the top 5 side effects of mixing alcohol and painkillers. Take a look.
To begin with, mixing these two can lead to acidity. These two components, individually, can also lead to acidity. So when you combine the two, the reaction becomes worse. And if we talk in terms of the degree of reaction, in this case, 1+1 does not result in two, but in something much worse than that. This is why the reaction is termed as a cumulative reaction.
2. Respiratory depression
Both painkillers and alcohol lead to sedation and combining the two leads to excessive sedation. As a result, the patient suffers from respiratory depression. This condition is a breathing disorder where the patient fails to breathe properly.
3. Aspiration pneumonia
Aspiration pneumonia may also take place. In this condition, your puke goes into your lungs. Usually, when something other than air enters our windpipe, we cough and remove it from our system. However, when the patient is under the influence of alcohol and painkillers together, he or she becomes drowsy and this protective reflex mechanism becomes weak. As a result, your puke enters your lungs.
4. Liver and kidney injury
Alcohol damages the liver, and we all know that. So is the case with excess consumption of painkillers. But when you take these two together, the risk of liver injury increases. It may also up your risk of liver cancer. The same effect may take place in your kidneys.
Alcohol and painkillers together may cause liver injury
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5. Heart disease
Excess alcohol can have an adverse impact on your heart. Combining this with painkillers can increase your risk of heart disease as well. If a patient experiences chest pain when sober, he or she becomes aware of it and takes action against it. But when the patient is under the influence of alcohol and painkillers, this effect is suppressed and patient fails to realize what is going on. Patients fail to recognize the symptoms.
The warning on the label says it, and so do we; Mixing alcohol and painkillers can lead to serious side effects.
(Dr. Sushila Kataria is the Director of the Department of Internal Medicine)
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