Blood pressure medication and alcohol

Various groups of blood pressure medications are used for the management of hypertension, many of them should not be taken with alcohol. Alcohol-containing medications and alcoholic beverages may enhance the effect of blood pressure medications and cause unwanted side effects.

  • Alcohol and diuretics

Patients taking the FDA-approved diuretics – Hydrochlorothiazide or Furosemide after the alcohol use, may experience orthostatic hypotension (sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up).

The danger of the interaction of these blood pressure medications and alcohol is that because of orthostatic hypotension, heart rate increases, cerebral blood circulation is disturbed, as well as the risk of falls and fractures increases.

If potent diuretics are used to treat hypertension, abstain from alcohol use. It should be noted that in the USA, Hydrochlorothiazide is used only in the combination with other antihypertensive medications.

Combined blood pressure medications containing diuretic agent – Hydrochlorothiazide are sold at the U.S. pharmacies under the trade names: Amturnide, Tekturna HCT, Tribenzor, Exforge HCT, Lotensin HCT, Ziac, Atacand HCT, Vaseretic, Teveten HCT. The most popular proprietary name of Furosemide diuretic is Lasix.

  • Alcohol and ACE inhibitors

Blood pressure medications included in the group of ACE inhibitors do not interact with alcohol. However, alcohol may enhance side effects of ACE inhibitors, especially immediately after the beginning of antihypertensive therapy.

In the first days of using ACE inhibitors, dizziness and faints may occur. After alcohol use, the risk of these side effects increases.

Alcohol is not contraindicated in people taking ACE inhibitors. However, before consuming alcohol before or after using such blood pressure medications, make sure that ACE inhibitors do not cause severe adverse reactions.

It should be noted that ACE inhibitors are often prescribed in conjunction with diuretics that should not be used with alcohol. Thus, if diuretics and ACE inhibitors were prescribed as a combined antihypertensive therapy, refrain from alcoholic beverages (including low-alcohol).

At the US pharmacies, you can find many ACE inhibitors used to reduce blood pressure, including Benazepril (Lotensin) tablets and Captopril (Capoten) tablets.

  • Alcohol and Beta blockers

Just as ACE inhibitors, Beta-blockers do not interact with alcohol. However, after the use of Beta-blockers and alcohol, severe side effects may occur.

After using alcohol together with blood pressure medications from Beta-blockers group, the heart rate slows down, as well as dizziness, nausea, appetite loss, and digestive disorder may occur.

When using small doses of Beta-blockers and a small amount of alcohol, side effects occur rarely. However, if diuretics are used to reduce blood pressure besides Beta-blockers, abstain from alcohol during the whole course of combined antihypertensive therapy.

Beta-blockers are available at the U.S. pharmacies under various trade names. For example, Nadolol tablets are more known under original name Corgard, but Atenolol tablets are available under the brand Tenormin.

  • Alcohol and Alpha-blockers

When Alpha-blockers are used as hypertension monotherapy, the consumption of moderate amount of alcohol is allowed with caution. When using alcohol before, during or after using blood pressure medications from Alpha-blockers group, dizziness and drowsiness may occur. Because of these side effects, the likelihood of accidental falls and injuries increases.

Particular caution should observe those, who after using blood pressure medications and alcohol, was physically active, stand for long periods of time, as well as those whose body was exposed to high temperatures. In these cases, the risk of dizziness, fainting, falls and injuries significantly increases.

Some of the most effective Alpha-blockers are Doxazosin and Prazosin. Doxazosin blood pressure medication is well known under the brand Cardura, Prazosin is sold under the brand name Minipress.

  • Alcohol and calcium channel blockers (CCB)

Blood pressure medications from CCB group interact with alcohol in different ways. For instance, the maximum doses of Amlodipine CCB do not increase the concentration of alcohol in the blood, but Verapamil CCB may increase the concentration of alcohol in the blood and thereby enhance its effect.

The use of alcohol and antihypertensive medications from CCB group is not contraindicated. However, those who regularly take blood pressure medications and periodically consume alcohol beverages should remember that alcohol affects hemodynamics and can reduce the effectiveness of antihypertensive therapy.

For several decades, Verapamil blood pressure medication is sold in the USA under the trade name Calan, but Amlodipine – under the trade name Norvasc. At the international pharmaceutical market, cheap antihypertensive medications – Verapamil and Amlodipine can also be sold under other trade names, including nonproprietary names Amlodipine Besylate and Verapamil Hydrochloride.