What Happens When You Take Prednisone and Drink Alcohol?

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: April 9, 2020
What Happens When You Take Prednisone and Drink Alcohol?

Prednisone is a synthetic corticosteroid commonly used to suppress inflammation and the immune system. It is used for the treatment of a number of medical conditions, including: ulcerative colitis.

You should always consult your doctor before drinking alcohol with any prescribed medicine. At oneHOWTO, we want to find out what happens when you take prednisone and drink alcohol.

You may also be interested in: How Long Does it Take for Prednisone to Work
  1. What is Prednisone?
  2. Side Effects of Prednisone
  3. Reaction of Prednisone with Alcohol
  4. Other Interactions with Prednisone
  5. Lifestyle Tips to Follow While Taking Prednisone
  6. Prednisone and alcohol

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid used to treat a variety of medical conditions, such as;

  • arthritis
  • eye problems
  • immune system disorders
  • blood issues
  • severe allergies
  • breathing problems

It is mostly available in oral-tablet form. Prednisone affects the way in which your immune system reacts to specific diseases and then works to relieve any apparent symptoms. In addition, it also functions as an anti-inflammatory drug.

What Happens When You Take Prednisone and Drink Alcohol? - What is Prednisone?

Side Effects of Prednisone

Some of the common side effects of prednisone include;

  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • acne
  • Loss of appetite loss
  • nausea

Some rare but serious side effects can include;

  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle cramps and pain
  • swelling in hands and feet
  • vision problems
  • weight gain
  • severe pain in the stomach or abdomen

Psychiatric side effects include;

  • mood and personality changes
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • mood swings
  • euphoria
What Happens When You Take Prednisone and Drink Alcohol? - Side Effects of Prednisone

Reaction of Prednisone with Alcohol

It is a little bit tricky to describe possible interactions between prednisone and alcohol. Most importantly, experts advise not to drink alcohol with almost every type of medicine. This is often because you never know how your body would react to their combination. However, when we talk about interaction between prednisone and alcohol specifically, there are relatively unsure answers.

Some say that prednisone does not collide with alcohol and that some forms of prednisone even contain a little percentage of alcohol. However, there are chances of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding when prednisone and alcohol are combined. More side-effects of this combination may include;

  • Both prednisone and alcohol are known to increase risk of developing ulcers and intestinal bleeding. When combined together in large amounts, they increase this risk.
  • Prednisone is prescribed to treat a number of medical conditions, and with most of these conditions, you are not recommended to drink alcohol.
  • While you are fighting a disease, drinking alcohol can worsen your medical condition.
  • Since both prednisone and alcohol are processed by your liver, combining them together may place extra stress on your liver, which can severely affect your health negatively.
  • Both prednisone and alcohol suppress your immunity, thus making it more difficult for your body to fight off diseases and infections.
  • Prednisone can, depending on the subject, increase blood sugar levels, like alcohol. This side effect is more prevalent in people who are more at risk of diabetes, or who have been taking steroids. Drinking more than 1-2 drinks of alcohol in a day while taking prednisone can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is perhaps because alcohol in itself is infamous for increase your blood sugar levels.
  • Prednisone may cause bones to thin and become brittle, presenting osteoporosis as a side effect of long-term prednisone use. If you continue drinking alcohol excessively, it may enhance your risk of developing this condition.
  • Both prednisone and alcohol can cause irritation in the digestive tract and increase chances of developing peptic ulcers. If your body is already prone to stomach upset and/or indigestion, then combining both prednisone and alcohol could worsen this situation.
  • When you are ill and you have been prescribed prednisone, then you will be advised to follow certain lifestyle tips, such as; eating small and healthy meals throughout the day, limiting your salt consumption, drinking lots of water, and avoiding alcohol. Staying away from alcohol will fasten your recovery process and keep your blood pressure and blood sugar levels stable. [1] [2]

Other Interactions with Prednisone

Some of the main drugs that interact with prednisone include

  • Aspirin
  • Cyclosporine
  • Ketoconazole
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Rifampin
  • Warfarin

Usually, a drug interaction occurs when you take it specific foods or with another drug. Therefore, before taking prednisone with another drug, whether prescription or over the counter, we suggest consulting your doctor first. These drugs also include mineral and vitamin supplements and herbal formulations.

Prednisone is known to interact aggressively with: diabetes medication, seizure medications and blood thinning drugs. If you smoke or if you consume caffeinated drinks, alcohol or illegal drugs, then you should inform your doctor before consuming this drug. Most of these above mentioned habits may interfere with the prednisone functions and can cause undesirable effects.[3]

Lifestyle Tips to Follow While Taking Prednisone

Whether you drink alcohol or not, corticosteroids like prednisone can have harsh side effects on your body. Following some of these lifestyle tips can be helpful in easing out some side effects:

  • Take your dose of prednisone only after eating a full meal. By doing this, you will stay protected against the damaging effects of prednisone on the digestive tract. Taking an antacid along with the drug may also help.
  • You should eat several small meals throughout the day. Doing this will keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  • Ask your doctor to make a diabetic meal plan for you. Such a diet will help prevent the onset of diabetes caused by steroid consumption.
  • Be sensible with your meals. Don’t eat more than your usual diet. Steroids make you feel hungry, which causes most people to eat more and consequently gain weight.
  • Minimize your consumption of salt in order to avoid water retention. Canned, packaged, pickled and frozen foods contain salt that you should avoid consuming. Prednisone may affect your taste buds causing you to find the food you are eating to be more bland than normal. You may want to add more salt in order to emphasize taste, do not do this.
  • Stay away from stimulants like nicotine and caffeine, as they make worsen your sleep related issues due to prednisone. Avoiding these products may ease the presence of insomnia, a very common side effect of this drug.

Prednisone and alcohol

While a couple of alcoholic drinks along with prednisone may not have any major negative effect on your health, it is always recommended to talk to your doctor before trying.

Depending on your condition and prednisone dosage, your doctor will be able to decide whether it will affect you and suggest ways to avoid any possible complications. However, avoiding alcohol consumption until you finish your treatment will most likely always be the best recommendation from experts. If you are taking steroids to treat a chronic condition and if you want to drink alcohol on regular basis, then your doctor will be able to tell you the benefits of stopping alcohol altogether. Nothing is more important than your health, and you should follow your doctor’s guidelines in order to remain healthy.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Happens When You Take Prednisone and Drink Alcohol?, we recommend you visit our Drugs & supplements category.

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What Happens When You Take Prednisone and Drink Alcohol?