Many medications can interact with alcohol. Everyone who takes prescription medications should know how the drug will affect their body. This includes what will happen if they decide to have a glass of wine with dinner or a drink with friends.
What is a Drug Interaction?
A drug interaction is how a medication reacts when mixed with another substance. This could be another drug, food, beverage, or supplement.
Drug interactions change the way medication works. An interaction could create or worsen side effects. It could make one of the medications less effective or more effective.
People must know if any prescription drugs interact with alcohol, including Ozempic.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a medication used to help control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It should be used with lifestyle changes, including a beneficial diet plan and exercise. Sometimes Ozempic may be given in addition to other diabetes medications.
Ozempic is not for people with type 1 diabetes.
Ozempic works in the pancreas to release more insulin when needed. This lowers A1C and blood sugar levels. It also reduces the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream by the liver.
This medication also slows down digestion. Food leaves the stomach slower to avoid blood sugar spikes. Ozempic can also reduce the chances of a stroke or heart attack for those with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic and Alcohol
The FDA has no specific warning to avoid alcohol while taking Ozempic. However, alcohol can have a significant effect on blood sugar levels. Alcohol might make any adverse side effects of Ozempic worse.
|Common Side Effects of Ozempic||Short-term Effects of Alcohol|
|Injection site reactions||Drowsiness|
|Abdominal pain||Head pain|
|Constipation||Slow or slurred speech|
|Gas, burping||Loss of coordination|
|Acid reflux||Impulsive behavior|
There are several side effects that Ozempic and alcohol have in common. Combining the two could increase the side effects, making someone very uncomfortable.
Ozempic has some more severe side effects that should be considered when deciding if they should drink alcohol while on this medication. This includes:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Kidney problems
- Vision changes
- Gallbladder problems
- Increased risk of thyroid cancer
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
One of the more severe side effects of Ozempic is hypoglycemia. Drinking alcohol can also cause hypoglycemia. This can be a dangerous situation.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Fast heartbeat
- Irritability or confusion
- Difficulty walking or seeing clearly
- Feeling weak
Hypoglycemia is a serious condition. Several of the symptoms are similar to being drunk. It can be difficult to recognize someone has low blood sugar when drinking alcohol. Taking Ozempic and drinking alcohol could result in a severely low blood sugar level.
Pancreatitis can lead to scar tissue forming in the pancreas, preventing the organ from working properly. This is when the pancreas becomes inflamed.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for developing pancreatitis. This is also one of the less common but serious side effects of Ozempic. If someone experiences these symptoms while taking Ozempic they should contact their doctor right away:
- Abdominal pain that radiates to the back
- Rapid pulse
- Tenderness when touching the abdomen
- Abdominal pain that gets worse after eating
Having an occasional drink is unlikely to lead to pancreatitis. But if someone has a history of heavy drinking and starts taking Ozempic they should watch for signs of pancreas problems.
Alcohol can change how well the kidneys work. The kidneys filter harmful substances that can be in the body. Again, an occasional drink may not significantly affect its own, but it is something to think about for anyone taking Ozempic.
The Other Possible Serious Side Effects of Ozempic
Moderate alcohol use does not seem to affect significant vision changes, the gallbladder, or the risk of thyroid cancer.
Alcohol and Diabetes
Drinking alcohol is a personal choice. People with diabetes should be aware that they can react differently to alcohol. Blood sugar levels can increase or decrease depending on how much alcohol someone consumes.
Drinking alcohol while someone is on medications for diabetes can lead to hypoglycemia. It is a good idea to check blood sugar levels before drinking and going to bed.
Having a snack or eating a meal when drinking may help prevent low blood sugar levels.
The liver is one of the most essential organs in the human body. It has several significant jobs. Alcohol has a significant effect on the liver.
The liver filters all of the blood that flows through the body. It removes poisonous substances, including drugs and alcohol. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels.
When someone drinks alcohol, the liver will process that first, stopping it from regulating blood sugar levels. This can turn into a dangerous situation for someone who has diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association suggests people with diabetes should only drink in moderation if they choose to consume alcohol.
Moderate alcohol use is no more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women. More than three daily drinks can lead to higher A1C and blood sugar levels.
One drink is considered a twelve-ounce beer, five ounces of wine, or one and a half ounces of 80-proof spirits.
Alcohol can make some diabetic conditions worse. Diabetic retinopathy (eye damage) and diabetic neuropathy can intensify with alcohol use. Diabetic neuropathy is burning or tingling in the feet or hands from nerve damage.
High blood pressure can be negatively impacted by alcohol use. High blood pressure can cause kidney disease and strokes.
The Bottom Line
It depends on each individual’s body whether they can handle drinking alcohol while taking Ozempic. Each person should discuss alcohol use with their doctor while taking Ozempic or any other medication for type 2 diabetes.
Save Money on Ozempic With The Rx Advocates
Ozempic is an expensive prescription medication. There is no generic version of this drug. This can be frustrating for anyone using Ozempic to control their type 2 diabetes.
It can be even more expensive when Ozempic is needed in addition to another type 2 diabetes medication. The Rx Advocates can help.
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We save many people hundreds of dollars every month on their prescription medications. We can help you too. Contact us today for more information.