There’s no better way to ruin the holidays than to wind up in a hospital. To avoid that situation and preserve holiday cheer during parties and other events where alcohol is present, drinkers should be mindful of the negative interactions some medications can have with alcohol. Alcohol interacts with a wide range of commonly used medications, so reading the warning labels on medicine prior to imbibing is recommended, along with consulting one’s physician when in doubt.

If the feelings of severe nausea and vomiting, fainting or loss of coordination come on suddenly, it could be a sign of a negative alcohol/medication interaction, and a trip to the local emergency room might be in order. According to LiveScience, combining alcohol with certain medications can even be deadly. For instance, alcohol can intensify medication side effects such as drowsiness, blurred vision, and dizziness, causing fatal accidents. Chronic or even permanent problems can include damage to the heart and liver, as well as internal bleeding. And note that it’s not necessary to mix mediation with alcohol at the same time for serious problems to occur.

Because they often take more medications than younger people, seniors are at higher risk for negative drug/alcohol interactions.  The elderly are more prone to falling and typically have slower reflexes, so a mix of alcohol and some medications can be especially dangerous. In addition, the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol slows down with age, so medication and alcohol may remain longer in the bloodstream of an older person, lengthening the danger period.

But regardless of age, it’s always best to check before the party or family dinner: what do the labels say about mixing a particular medication with alcohol? You can also start with this list of eight classes of common medications that may have negative interactions with alcohol.

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