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Omeprazole (Prilosec) and Alcohol Interaction: Can You Drink Alcohol with Omeprazole?

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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 6/02/2022

Omeprazole is a proton-pump inhibitor. Proton-pump inhibitors are used to treat several medical conditions like damage to the esophagus, stomach ulcers, heartburn, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Omeprazole requires a prescription from a doctor and can have interactions when mixed with other substances like alcohol. Some common brands of omeprazole include Zegerid OTC, Zegerid, and OmePPi. Omeprazole can also be used as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, which are medications that you can acquire without a prescription. One version of omeprazole that can be found in OTC is Prilosec, which is a mild version of the drug that’s used for heartburn.

Omeprazole is a safe medication to take for heartburn and other conditions. However, it can be dangerous to mix with other drugs and substances like alcohol. Because alcohol irritates the stomach and intestines, mixing alcohol with omeprazole can make omeprazole less effective at treating heartburn. Therefore, mixing alcohol and omeprazole should be avoided.

What are the Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Omeprazole?

Omeprazole is used to treat heartburn and conditions like GERD. Because alcohol interacts with the digestive system, mixing alcohol and omeprazole can lead to undesirable side effects. Furthermore, consuming large quantities of alcohol can make omeprazole less effective at treating GERD, heartburn, and esophagus damage. Mixing alcohol and omeprazole can also lead to side effects like headaches, dizziness, stomach discomfort, liver damage, and a magnesium deficiency. More on the interactions between alcohol and omeprazole are listed below.

1. Headaches

Omeprazole has similar side effects as alcohol, especially when taken in high doses. For this reason, a combination of alcohol and omeprazole can lead to a headache. While it’s tempting to treat a headache caused by omeprazole and alcohol with other medications, this can lead to more side effects. Therefore, the best course of action to treat a headache caused by alcohol and omeprazole is to wait for it to resolve on its own. If the headache does not go away and gets worse, you should seek medical attention.

2. Dizziness

Alcohol and omeprazole can both cause dizziness. Even when the substances are not mixed, alcohol and omeprazole can make people feel dizzy. While it typically takes large quantities of alcohol to make people feel dizzy, mixing alcohol with omeprazole can make dizziness occur with less alcohol consumption. This can be dangerous for many reasons and people who experience dizziness from mixing alcohol and omeprazole should not operate heavy machinery and remain stationary if possible.

3. Upset Stomach

Omeprazole is designed to treat stomach problems like GERD and heartburn. While it’s effective at treating these conditions, alcohol irritates the stomach and intestines by causing inflammation. The result of this inflammation is typically the production of more stomach acid. More stomach acid can make conditions like heartburn and GERD worse. For this reason, mixing alcohol with omeprazole can make omeprazole less effective at treating GERD, heartburn, and problems with the esophagus.

4. Liver Injury

The liver is responsible for clearing toxins from the body. The liver is also responsible for clearing medications like omeprazole from the body. Abusing alcohol and omeprazole can lead to liver damage by causing the liver to become overwhelmed. When the liver becomes injured it can create fat deposits on the liver and lead to liver failure. Frequently abusing alcohol can also cause liver failure that requires a liver transplant.

5. Magnesium Deficiency

Taking omeprazole consistently for more than a few months can lead to a magnesium deficiency. Typically, low magnesium is associated with regular doses of between 20 to 40 milligrams of omeprazole taken daily. When mixing alcohol and omeprazole magnesium deficiency can become worse because alcohol can cause mineral deficiencies in the body. That said, when people stop taking omeprazole, magnesium levels return to normal levels in a few days or weeks.

Does Omeprazole Affect the Taste of Alcohol?

Omeprazole does not affect the taste of alcohol. However, taking omeprazole orally can leave an aftertaste in the mouth. When alcohol is consumed with the aftertaste in the mouth it can impact the taste of alcohol. Typically, the aftertaste makes alcohol taste more bitter. That said, alcohol should taste normal again once the aftertaste is cleared from the mouth. Therefore, only a few sips of alcohol should be impacted by omeprazole.

Does Omeprazole Affect the Effect of Alcohol?

Omeprazole can affect the effect of alcohol. While it doesn’t directly interact with alcohol, it can make the side effects of alcohol worse. These side effects include heartburn, headaches, and dizziness. Omeprazole does not affect the intoxicating properties of alcohol but can lead to people feeling more dizzy and fatigued with fewer alcoholic beverages.

Can Mixture of Alcohol and Omeprazole Lead to Death?

While rare, the mixture of omeprazole and alcohol can lead to death. Death does not typically occur but when alcohol and omeprazole are mixed at large doses it can cause the liver to become overwhelmed, which increases the risk of alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can be deadly and lead to death.

Who should not Take Alcohol and Omeprazole?

Nobody should mix alcohol and omeprazole. That said, people who are over the age of 65 should limit their alcohol intake when taking omeprazole. Furthermore, omeprazole is used to treat acidity in the stomach. People who struggle with heartburn and GERD should not take alcohol and omeprazole because it can make the medication less effective. Women can also experience more negative effects when mixing omeprazole and alcohol because BAC levels rise faster in women than in men.

Can I Take Omeprazole with Alcohol While Pregnant?

Omeprazole and alcohol should never be combined during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause many negative health effects during pregnancy and increase the risk of conditions like fetal alcohol syndrome. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition that causes infants to be born with irreversible deformities. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy can also increase the risk of a miscarriage occurring and create other health problems for the fetus and mother.

Are all Types of Alcohol Harmful with Omeprazole?

Yes, all types of alcohol are harmful to omeprazole. Omeprazole is designed to treat stomach problems and alcohol can cause stomach problems, so consuming alcohol with omeprazole makes the medication less effective. While one or two standard drinks won’t cause significant reactions, consuming many alcoholic beverages can render the medication useless.

How Much Omeprazole can be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?

Any amount of omeprazole can be dangerous to take with alcohol. Alcohol irritates the stomach, which is what omeprazole is designed to treat. Therefore, even normal doses of 20 or 40 milligrams of omeprazole can be dangerous to take with alcohol. In fact, mixing alcohol and omeprazole can lead to the medication being less effective and make mineral deficiencies like magnesium deficiency more prevalent. 

Can You Overdose From Mixing Omeprazole and Alcohol?

Overdose from mixing omeprazole and alcohol is unlikely. Still, consuming large quantities of alcohol with medications like omeprazole can make the side effects of alcohol more severe. When side effects of alcohol become severe it can lead to injury and death. It’s also important to note that consuming large quantities of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is an alcohol overdose that can result in coma, choking, and death.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Omeprazole will Work?

Alcohol does affect how well omeprazole will work. Omeprazole is prescribed to treat stomach problems like GERD and heartburn. The medication works by limiting the production of stomach acid that causes these conditions. Alcohol, on the other hand, increases the amount of acid produced by the stomach. By increasing the amount of acid in the stomach, alcohol can make omeprazole less effective. Moreover, mixing large quantities of alcohol with omeprazole can make omeprazole useless and even dangerous.

How Long After Taking Omeprazole can You Drink Alcohol?

Omeprazole has a half-life of an hour in the body. The body can clear all omeprazole in about 4 or 5 hours. Because omeprazole is cleared from the body quickly, alcohol can be consumed within 4 or 5 hours of the last dose of omeprazole. That said, 24-hour omeprazole can cause complications when mixed with alcohol. When taking the 24-hour variant of omeprazole, alcohol should not be consumed within the 24 hours.

What Are Other Drugs That Are Dangerous To Use with Alcohol?

Many drugs are dangerous to use with alcohol. Alcohol interacts with many parts of the body, so mixing alcohol with any substance can lead to adverse health effects. That said, some medications are more dangerous to mix with alcohol. Below are some of the most dangerous drugs to mix with alcohol.

  • Antibiotics 
  • Amoxicillin 
  • Penicillin 
  • Antidepressants 
  • Xanax 
  • Proton-pump inhibitors 
  • Depressants 
  • Amphetamines
  • Stimulants 
  • Opioids 
  • Hallucinogens 
  • Marijuana

Keep in mind that these are only a few of the drugs that are dangerous to use with alcohol.