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Amitiza and Alcohol

Oct 20, 2021
Amitiza and Alcohol

You can develop adverse reactions (like vomiting and nausea) if you drink alcohol with medical drugs. In fact, drugs used to treat alcoholism are designed to give people uncomfortable symptoms if they consume alcohol.

Before a doctor prescribes you such a drug, he’ll clearly tell you to avoid alcohol during the regimen. If you’re wondering whether you can have alcohol on top of Amitiza, this article will answer your question. We will also discuss the common drugs that trigger a reaction if taken with alcohol and why it happens.

Let’s begin!

What is Amitiza?

Amitiza is a drug used to treat constipation. It’s a brand name for a chemical called lubiprostone, which works by activating chloride channels in the body.

These channels are found in cells that line your gut and when activated, lead to the production of chloride-rich fluid. As fluid fills the intestinal tract, stool becomes soft and easy to pass. Fluid also distends the gut walls, which triggers reflex contractions. As gut contractions increase, you get a bowel movement.

Amitiza is mainly used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (constipation subtype) and chronic idiopathic constipation. Both conditions lead to long-term gut dysfunction and may cause prolonged constipation. Constipation from both these conditions can be difficult to treat and when other therapies fail, Amitiza can be used.

Amitiza is also approved for opioid-induced constipation, which is a side effect of long-term opioid therapy. Opioids are usually used to treat severe pain.

Can you drink alcohol while taking Amitiza?

Yes, you can drink alcohol while taking Amitiza.

There are no documented interactions between Amitiza and alcohol, so there’s no need to worry about an adverse reaction.

But you should know that Amitiza has the potential to make you dizzy. This happens because of two reasons. First, Amitiza can lower your blood pressure. And second, it can cause diarrhea, which leads to dehydration.

Since alcohol also has the potential to make you dizzy, this effect may be exaggerated when you take it with Amitiza.

Dizziness after taking Amitiza may also be a sign of a rare allergic reaction to the drug, so it’s important to seek medical attention in case you experience it.

Does Amitiza affect the liver?

Since alcohol damages the liver, you may be concerned about liver damage from Amitiza if you consume heavy amounts of alcohol.

Luckily, there is no evidence to suggest that Amitiza damages the liver. 

Isolated cases of liver enzyme elevation (which indicates liver damage) have been reported in response to Amitiza but the chances of this are extremely rare in the general population.

Nonetheless, your doctor might reduce the drug’s dose if you suffer from a liver condition.

What are the side effects and interactions of Amitiza?

While Amitiza doesn’t interact with alcohol, it does interact with other medical drugs. Similarly, while it doesn’t lead to liver damage, it does cause other well-documented side effects. This is why it’s important to be aware of both its side effects and interactions.

The more common side effects of Amitiza are mild. They include nausea, headache, diarrhea, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing (not to be confused with breathing difficulty that’s caused by an allergic reaction to the drug).

These side effects typically go away on their own but may persist in rare cases.

Serious side effects of Amitiza are allergic reactions, severe diarrhea, and a low blood pressure. And although these are very rare, they can be potentially life threatening.

Allergic reactions to Amitiza manifests as itching, face or hand swelling, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. You must seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms after taking Amitiza.

Amitiza has been shown to interact with other medical drugs, which can also lead to a wide range of side effects. Tell your doctor about all medications as well as any herbal, vitamin, and mineral supplements you’re taking before getting a prescription for Amitiza.

Examples of drugs that can interact with Amitiza include:

  • Statins
  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Antidiarrheal drugs like loperamide
  • Methadone, which is an opioid and may prevent Amitiza from working properly
  • Antihypertensives (ACE inhibitors, diuretics) — taking Amitiza with these drugs can lead to dangerous drops in blood pressure

What drugs interact with alcohol?

Although Amitiza doesn’t interact with alcohol, some other drugs do. Alcohol can interact with these drugs in a variety of ways. It can make a drug ineffective or increase its concentration to toxic levels inside the body. It can also cause new symptoms to develop, which are usually very uncomfortable.

If you regularly drink alcohol, it’s a good idea to be aware of the following drug-alcohol interactions:

  • Antibiotics. Metronidazole is an antibiotic that can lead to nausea and vomiting when taken with alcohol. Other antibiotics that can cause uncomfortable symptoms with alcohol include azithromycin, isoniazid, cephalosporins, and nitrofurantoin.

 

  • Diabetes drugs. Insulin, metformin, and some sulfonylureas can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar levels as well as nausea and vomiting when taken with alcohol.

 

  • Benzodiazepines. These include lorazepam, alprazolam, and diazepam, and are often used to relieve anxiety. Since benzodiazepines and alcohol bind to the same receptor in the brain, the combination can lead to excessive drowsiness or unconsciousness.

 

  • Opioids. Just like with benzodiazepines, taking alcohol with opioids can lead to excessive nervous system depression and may cause death.

 

  • Acetaminophen, which is a common over-the-counter pain-killer. Acetaminophen and alcohol are both metabolized by the liver. If the liver is busy breaking down alcohol, dangerous levels of acetaminophen can build in the body, which in turn can lead to severe liver damage.

 

  • Nitrates, which are used to treat high blood pressure and angina. Taking nitrates with alcohol can cause abnormal heart rhythms, dizziness, and fainting.

 

  • Warfarin, which is a blood thinner used to prevent abnormal blood clots. Alcohol interacts with warfarin unpredictably and can both increase or decrease its effects. 

These are some of the more common alcohol-drug interactions. There are many more drugs that interact with alcohol and your doctor will inform you about potential reactions while prescribing the drug.

Medically Reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD PhD 


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