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Can You Drink Alcohol with Prednisone?


Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 9/07/2022

You can drink alcohol with Prednisone but there are some things you need to be aware of. First and foremost, Prednisone is a steroid. Its purpose is to help people with low levels of corticosteroids and replaces steroids naturally produced by the body to accomplish this. Prednisone is commonly used to treat inflammation, skin rashes, swelling, and redness. It’s a common steroid used to help clear infections.

You can drink alcohol while you’re on prednisone but it might make your stomach feel uncomfortable. Steroids are typically safe to consume with alcohol unless you have stomach problems like ulcers, heartburn, and irritable bowel syndrome.

What is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a type of steroid, specifically a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids are used to treat conditions related to inflammation. The drug works by reducing the body’s immune response to various infections and diseases. While that sounds counterproductive, it’s perfect for situations where the body is having allergic reactions that cause swelling.

For these reasons, prednisone is a common treatment method for arthritis, issues with the blood, eye problems, and even certain types of cancer.

What is the Purpose of Taking Prednisone?

Prednisone’s primary purpose is to treat medical conditions that cause swelling, inflammation, skin conditions, and help with cancer treatment. The medication is designed to stop the immune system from attacking cells within the body that cause these reactions.

Is Prednisone a Painkiller?

No, prednisone is not a painkiller. That said, prednisone can relieve pain by reducing swelling and inflammation that causes pain. For example, it can treat arthritis, which causes pain in the joints. Still, prednisone shouldn’t be treated like a traditional painkiller. Only use prednisone when it’s prescribed by your doctor for X, Y situations.

What is the Chemical Structure of Prednisone?

The molecular formula of prednisone is C21H26O5. Prednisone is a glucocorticoid –otherwise known as a corticosteroid. The steroid works by replacing natural steroids within the body to prevent inflammation and allergic responses. The process starts once prednisone enters the body and begins the process of breaking it down.

As prednisone breaks down within the body, it attaches to cell receptors and enters the cell. Once inside the cell, prednisone binds to the nucleus and activates receptors that change gene expression. The genes of steroid target are associated with inflammation responses through cytokine.

Prednisone also reduces the number of lymphocytes in the body and creates apoptosis in weakened cancer cells.

How does Prednisone Make You Feel?

Prednisone doesn’t always have side effects and some individuals taking prednisone won’t feel anything. That said, prednisone does create side effects in some individuals. These side effects vary from an upset stomach to swelling of the face, so it’s important to know what the medication can do.

Some of the most common feelings that prednisone causes are below.

  • Hyperactivity (jitters)
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Mood swings
  • The inability to sleep at night
  • Irritability

In most cases, prednisone won’t change the way you feel but long-term use or abuse can lead to negative health effects like a drop in bone density. Only use prednisone when prescribed by your doctor.

What are the Worst Side Effects of Prednisone?

Prednisone can cause many side effects. These side effects depend on the person and how they interact with the medication. While prednisone affects everyone differently, there are some common side effects you should be aware of before taking the medication.

We list the side effects of prednisone below.

  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Acne
  • Thinner skin
  • Problems sleeping
  • Hyperactivity
  • Stomach discomfort (vomiting, cramps)
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changed in blood sugar
  • Lower potassium levels

Experiencing side effects while taking prednisone is rare but you should always consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing any.

Why do Individuals Mix Prednisone With Alcohol?

Individuals mix alcohol with many substances to reach the desired effect that both substances can’t produce on their own. Prednisone is a common steroid and one of the most prescribed steroids, so it’s not uncommon for people to mix alcohol and prednisone.

Still, mixing prednisone and alcohol doesn’t produce any significant changes in the way a person feels. Therefore, most people who mix alcohol and prednisone are doing it because they want to feel the effects of alcohol.

It’s also important to note that alcohol does increase the risks of side effects when taking prednisone, so always consult with your doctor before drinking alcohol and taking prednisone.

What Side Effects Occur When You Mix Prednisone with Alcohol?

When you mix alcohol and prednisone the chances of side effects occurring increase. Unfortunately, side effects tend to be worse in individuals who suffer from alcoholism and alcohol abuse disorder (AUD). Therefore, alcoholics should focus on reducing drinking before taking prednisone.

We list the most common side effects that occur when mixing alcohol and prednisone below.

  • Peptic ulcers
  • High blood sugar from elevated cortisol
  • Weakened immune system
  • Bleeding in the stomach
  • Increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Body aches
  • Joint pain

These side effects are more likely to occur in people who suffer from AUD and other substance abuse disorders.

Does Alcohol Affect How Well Prednisone will Work?

No, alcohol doesn’t alter the way prednisone works but it can harm your body and increase prednisone’s side effects. Prednisone causes damage to some digestive organs, as does alcohol, so mixing the two substances will likely cause stomach discomfort and potentially life-threatening side effects in and around the stomach.

While alcohol doesn’t affect how prednisone works it will affect you. Prednisone and alcohol both weaken the immune system, leaving you at risk for infection, and encourage weight gain. Therefore, mixing both substances can leave you in a worse spot than when you started.

How Long After Taking Prednisone can You Drink Alcohol?

Once you finish your prednisone perception it’s safe to drink alcohol. In fact, it’s possible to drink alcohol while you’re taking prednisone. There isn’t a set period where people need to abstain from alcohol while taking prednisone unless an individual is suffering from AUD or plans on binge drinking. In these cases, consuming alcohol will lead to increased side effects.

Still, if you want to play it safe you can wait for your body to return to its normal hormonal balance. Depending on the person this can take 16-22 hours.

What Other Drugs Are Dangerous to Use with Alcohol?

Mixing substances with alcohol always puts you at risk of side effects. Therefore, you shouldn’t combine alcohol with prednisone or other drugs unless you check with your doctor.

Here are some of the most common dangerous drugs individuals mix with alcohol.

Taking drugs with alcohol increases your risk of negative health effects, side effects, and even mental health issues. For these reasons, we always recommend avoiding combinations of alcohol and other drugs. If you must take other drugs with alcohol make sure you consult with your doctor.

What should be Done to Reduce Alcohol Addiction?

Alcoholism, or AUD, starts when you have the urge to drink alcohol. Alcoholism tends to leave its victims with intense withdrawal symptoms when alcohol isn’t consumed. AUD and alcoholism can lead to binge drinking, needing alcohol to have fun, and increased chances of combining alcohol with other substances.

Alcoholism can be treated at any stage. There are many alcoholism treatment options and some of the most common include:

  • Inpatient Treatment: Residential clinics where patients are housed, fed, and kept on the premises. These can be luxurious and expensive options depending on where you go.
  • Outpatient Treatment: This consists of patients going to clinics in a set frequency each week or month. Treatment methods consist of therapy, detoxification with medications like Diazepam, and partial hospitalization.
  • Sober Living: Sober living programs give patients more freedom but also more responsibility. These programs teach values, life skills, and responsibility alongside alcohol treatment.
  • Detox: Detox is for severe cases of alcoholism that require medications to ease potentially life-threatening symptoms.

Once treatment is concluded it’s important for recovering alcoholics to remain sober. Many people choose to join Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups. These groups give you a sponsor to monitor your behavior and a chance to speak about the addiction.