Many people are unaware of the dangers that come with mixing alcohol and other drugs, or if they are aware, they choose to ignore it. Especially if they have a drinking problem and have yet to get help at a substance abuse treatment center, they may not be able to stop even if they want to. One study found that concurrent use of alcohol and medications in older adults varied from 21 to 35%.1 These interactions may be from a variety of different drugs, but all may be dangerous. One risky drug interaction is diuretics and alcohol.
What Are Diuretics?
Diuretics, also known as water pills, are drugs that promote diuresis or the production of urine to rid the body of salt and water. Diuretics are most commonly used to treat high blood pressure by decreasing the amount of fluid in your veins. They are also sometimes used to help with heart failure, liver failure, and edema. The three types of diuretics are thiazide, loop, and potassium-sparing. They all have slightly different functions, but all of them lead to increased urine production.
Taking Diuretics & Drinking Alcohol Together
Like any drugs, diuretics come with their side effects. Some people may not have any problems, but others may experience more severe issues. The exact side effects will depend on a variety of factors including the individual, but for those mixing diuretic pills and alcohol, the risks are much greater.
Mixing diuretics and alcohol could lead to side effects such as:
- No change in blood pressure
- Frequent urination
Diuretics are most commonly used to lower high blood pressure, but alcohol can increase blood pressure. Together, these two effects may cancel each other out and the diuretics may be ineffective. Mixing water pills and alcohol may also lead to a greater than usual need to urinate as well as some dizziness. Both may seem mostly harmless, but they could be precursors to a more serious problem. The biggest issue with mixing diuretics and alcohol is the possibility of dehydration. Alcohol itself is also a diuretic that leads to increased urination. When it is mixed with diuretic pills, your body may be expelling too much water from its system. Drinking more fluids alone may not be enough to combat this dehydration either. If ignored, dehydration could lead to shock, fainting, and confusion that requires medical attention.
No matter what medications you are taking, mixing it with alcohol could be problematic. Always talk to your doctor about potential drug interactions and get help if necessary. Our alcohol rehab in PA could help you stop drinking so that you can start taking medications safely and work toward improving your health.
Overcoming a substance abuse problem is hard, but you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. Our Laurel Run detox center can help you get and stay sober. We work with patients from the first step of their sobriety journey to long after they walk out our door.
If you or a loved one has an addiction and is finally ready to get help, call us today at 570-536-9621 to find more about our addiction treatment programs.
NCBI – Concurrent use of alcohol interactive medications and alcohol in older adults: a systematic review of prevalence and associated adverse outcomes