Doctors urge caution with NYE celebrations and taking medication

CARMEL, Ind. - It may be a medication you take all the time -- so you don’t even think about reaching for that New Year’s Eve cocktail. But doctors say New Year’s drinks should not be made with alcohol if you’re taking some medicines -- even over-the-counter remedies.

“Some medications you really should not drink (with) at all,” St. Vincent emergency room doctor Nicholas Pitts said. “And some medications could really make you quite sick if you were to drink on them even in small amounts. Particularly the medicines that are nighttime formulated would be riskier medications to take as they could make you much more sleepy."

Medications to treat allergic reactions can also cause sleepiness -- which causes a cumulative effect when mixed with alcohol. The same goes for some anti-depressants.

"If you're taking medications that are known to be sedating, such as seizure medications that may make you sleepy, or muscle relaxants, or pain medications that may have opiates in them or narcotics, clearly those are not intended to be used while you're drinking alcohol,” Dr. Pitts said.

Aspirin is fine, but could increase stomach acids. And any pain reliever is okay in standard doses - so as not to damage the liver.

You should avoid any amount of alcohol if you're taking certain antibiotics.

"Particularly ones used for treatment of gastro-intestinal bugs or gynecologic infections," Dr. Pitts said.

No matter what kind of medication you're taking, whether it's over-the-counter or prescription, make sure you read the warnings on the back first before you reach for any alcoholic beverage.

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