Hydrocodone and Alcohol: The Dangers of Mixing Them

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Mixing hydrocodone and alcohol can cause a dangerous chemical reaction that can create potentially dangerous and even fatal side effects in the body. 

Chemically, a combination like this can have dangerous unpredictable side effects mentally and physically and can put others in close proximity at risk as well as the individual can become quite irrational and heavily inebriated.  

If an overdose occurs or is suspected, the best thing to do is immediately call 911. On a chemical level, alcohol lowers the heart rate and therefore increases the sedative effects of opioids. 

Does Alcohol Interfere with Opioids?

Yes, alcohol interferes strongly with opioids. Strong prescription painkillers like hydrocodone, morphine, Norco, or oxycodone are synthesized from different opiate alkaloid precursor substances which are taken from the opium poppy. 

While opioids may be very useful for those who have just had a recent surgery or are suffering in pain, they can also be addictive and dangerous, especially mixed with alcohol or used recreationally. The sedative effect can also become quite appealing to some, increasing the chance of misuse, addiction, and overdose.

However, not only can mixing opioids like hydrocodone with alcohol make the person feel very uneasy and sedated, it can potentially cause serious damage or death. 

A man sits with his head in his hands to represent the question: can you mix hydrocodone and alcohol?.

What Happens If You Drink Alcohol After Taking Painkillers?

Drinking alcohol while taking painkillers like hydrocodone can increase the sedative effects and risk of overdose that the drug would typically have. This increase can lead to serious side effects or even death if the dose of either or both of the drugs is too high. Taking too high of a dose can often happen by accident as even a prescription amount of painkillers can become dangerous from the exaggerated effects that alcohol will create. 

Some of the interactions that can occur by mixing alcohol and opioids include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration 
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate and rhythm 
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Loss on conscience 
  • Respiratory arrest 
  • Coma 

Are All Drugs Dangerous to Mix With Alcohol?

While some drugs like the opioids mentioned above can create dangerous chemical reactions when taken with alcohol, not all drugs are dangerous to mix with alcohol. 

For example, taking other forms of pain meds like Tylenol or Advil while consuming alcohol will produce a completely different effect. Tylenol and Advil do not have the same properties as other opioid medications like hydrocodone, and while they may cause a minor stomachache, the combination will not kill you. 

If you are unsure whether a drug you’re taking will interfere with alcohol, it’s best to consult your prescribing doctor about whether you should avoid mixing them or not. Over-the-counter medication should have this information on a warning label or on their website if you should not mix it with alcohol. 

How Long Should I Wait to Drink Alcohol After Taking Hydrocodone?

It is not recommended to combine hydrocodone with alcohol at all. The amount of time hydrocodone stays in your body varies from person to person, and therefore there is no definitive answer as to when it actually safe to consume alcohol.  

Some experts say that most should be in the clear after waiting at least 12 hours from the time of the last consumption of a painkiller to consuming alcohol, but of course, this is not ideal either. It’s best to wait 24 hours, or not consume alcohol at all while on prescription painkillers like hydrocodone. 

a woman looks out at a sunset to represent prescription opioid addiction treatment.

Get Treatment for Opioid Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers

At Ohio Recovery Centers, we know how complex addiction can become. From people, places, and things, to lifestyle habits and routines, addiction can take hold fairly easily and begin weaving its way into your life.

Whether you or your loved one are struggling with an alcohol addiction, opioid addiction, or both, at Ohio Recovery Centers, we can help. Our staff of addiction treatment professionals is here to help you regain your life from addiction, one step at a time. 

With compassion-based treatment, effective therapies, and a community of others on their journey to sobriety like you, Ohio Recovery Center is the perfect place to find freedom from the weight of addiction. 

Reach out to our team at (949) 694-8305 and let us help you get your new drug-free life started today.  

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