At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
It is not safe to drink alcohol with beta blockers, as it can interact with the medication and cause a dangerous drop in heart rate and blood pressure. Beta blockers can also interact negatively with caffeine, stimulants, and other blood pressure drugs. Before a patient starts therapy, it is important to discuss side effects and contraindications with a doctor, and to talk about any prescriptions the patient may already be taking to determine if they pose a risk.
The problem seen in patients who drink alcohol with beta blockers is that both have a depressive effect. The beta blockers address high blood pressure by slowing the heart rate and making it pump less forcefully, forcing the blood pressure down because less blood flows through the patient's body. Alcohol tends to cause blood pressure drops as well, especially in high volume. When the two mix, it can result in a very sudden and serious drop in blood pressure that could endanger the patient.
A doctor will usually recommend against mixing alcohol with beta blockers. Patients who do consume alcohol despite medical advice may notice an increase in dizziness and fatigue. This is a sign that the blood pressure is dropping, and the patient cannot tolerate the mix. Other people may not notice side effects and can safely drink now and then. It can be hard to determine how a person will respond, and for liability reasons a doctor will usually not give a patient clearance to drink.
If a patient consumes alcohol with beta blockers and does notice signs of a bad reaction, it is advisable to call a doctor. The doctor may recommend taking the person to a hospital for treatment. Patients will not be penalized for noncompliance, as the focus will be on making the patient stable with medical treatment. If the alcohol consumption becomes a recurrent issue and the patient clearly has trouble with the stipulation against alcohol, it may be necessary to consider an alcohol treatment program or other measures to control blood pressure.
People with a history of alcoholism should discuss this before taking beta blockers, as it can be a risk factor. It is also important to be aware that alcohol, diabetes, and beta blockers can have serious interactions with each other. Diabetic patients may have trouble processing alcohol, and beta blockers also tend to impact their blood sugar. The combination of these factors can make the mixture extremely dangerous, and such patients should be very careful to avoid alcohol.