Mixing Alcohol & Prednisone | Can You Drink On Prednisone?
Prednisone is a corticosteroid that can treat a variety of health conditions, including flare-ups of multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, lymphoma, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, allergic reactions, and many others. Prednisone is sold under brand names Cotolone, Rayos, Orapred, and others.
Can You Drink On Prednisone?
Most official labels for prescription prednisone do not warn against taking it with alcohol.
However, alcohol shares some potential side effects with prednisone and can make these side effects worse in some cases. Check with your doctor to determine if it’s safe for you to drink alcohol on prednisone.
Effects Of Mixing Prednisone & Alcohol
If you take corticosteroids and drink alcohol at the same time, you may experience side effects of both. Side effects of both alcohol and steroid use may include:
- mood changes/mood swings
- adrenal insufficiency (reduced cortisol produced by the adrenal glands)
- reduced coordination
- weight gain
- high blood sugar levels
There are few studies on how alcohol and steroids interact in the body. Some experts believe the two have few interactions if any. However, combining alcohol and prednisone can still put you at a higher risk for certain health risks.
Potential Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol & Prednisone
Prednisone has known interactions with many substances, including aspirin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, ibuprofen, and laxatives. Some substances can make prednisone less effective, while others can cause low blood potassium when taken with prednisone.
Alcohol does not have known interactions with prednisone like these substances do, but experts still suggest there are some health risks to taking prednisone with alcohol.
Reduced Effects Of Prednisone
Prednisone can be prescribed to treat health problems caused by alcohol abuse. Its anti-inflammatory effects can be effective against ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and heartburn.
Heavy alcohol use is linked to these conditions. Drinking alcohol can also cause inflammation, which can get in the way of prednisone use and make steroids less effective. Prednisone can also cause weight gain, which can be made worse by drinking alcohol high in carbohydrates.
People who are being treated for the effects of alcohol abuse will likely be told to avoid alcohol. This can include people who are taking corticosteroids as a treatment option.
Weakened Immune System
Taking prednisone suppresses the immune system. Suppressing the immune system can reduce inflammation and help fight diseases where the immune system attacks the body. A weakened immune system can also put you at increased risk for many conditions.
High alcohol intake can also weaken your immune system over time. When taken together, prednisone and alcohol can severely weaken your immune system, making it hard for your body to heal from infections, wounds, and common conditions.
High Blood Pressure
Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation, which is a common cause of high blood pressure. However, high blood pressure is a known side effect of prednisone. Corticosteroids can cause the body to hold onto fluids for longer, and increased fluids in the bloodstream can cause high blood pressure.
Small amounts of alcohol can help reduce blood pressure, but heavy drinking can also increase blood pressure. Drinking alcohol with steroids may increase your blood pressure, especially if you cannot control your drinking or have an alcohol use disorder.
Damage To The Digestive Tract
Long-term use of corticosteroids usually does not cause peptic ulcers (open sores in your stomach and small intestine) on their own. They may make peptic ulcers worse and cause internal bleeding. They may also cause peptic ulcers when mixed with specific drugs called NSAIDs.
Alcohol is a risk factor for some forms of gastrointestinal disease, but it can also wear down the stomach lining, make the stomach upset, and increase the chances of stomach ulcers forming.
Alcohol and steroids, when taken with other anti-inflammatory drugs, can put your GI tract at risk for problems like ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Prednisone has been tested as a potential treatment for alcoholic liver disease, but multiple studies have suggested it is not effective in this field. Some studies also suggest corticosteroids are a risk factor for liver disease, especially in high doses or as a subject of substance abuse.
Heavy alcohol consumption can cause your liver to break down and fail. Its specific effects on the liver are put into their own medical category known as alcoholic liver disease. Combining alcohol and steroids could make your liver break down quickly.
Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
Steroids and alcohol can both cause many side effects to your body. Some of these side effects can be worsened when they are taken together. If you are worried about the potential side effects of steroids, talking to your healthcare provider can help you figure out if they are right for you.
Along with its many physical health risks, and alcohol use disorder can also include alcohol addiction. If you are unable to control your drinking habits, you may feel like it is impossible to stop even as your health declines.
To find an alcohol addiction treatment program that works for you or a loved one, contact our helpline today.
Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
This page does not provide medical advice.
Alcohol Research - Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation
Alcohol Research - Alcoholic Liver Disease: Pathogenesis and Current Management
BioMed Central (BMC) - Corticosteroid dose increase is a risk factor for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and contralateral osteonecrosis of the femoral head: a case report
The New England Journal of Medicine - Short-Term and Long-Term Survival in Patients with Alcoholic Hepatitis Treated with Oxandrolone and Prednisolone
National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Prednisone
U.S. Food and Drug Administration - Prednisone
Questions About Treatment?
Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.
100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
We've got you covered.
Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.