alcohol altering drug metabolism

Last reviewed 01/2018

Alcohol may affect the metabolism of drugs by the liver microsomal enzymes.

If there is an acute 'binge' consumption of alcohol then the metabolism of some drugs may be affected by competition for microsomal enzymes. Alternatively, a regular alcohol consumption of more than 25 units a day induces liver microsomal enzymes and so can increase the rate of drug metabolism.

Important reactions can occur with warfarin, phenytoin and tolbutamide.

Alcohol may add to the CNS depressant effects of drugs such as anxiolytics, opioid analgesics, hypnotics, antipsychotics, antidepressants, antiepileptics and H1-antihistamines.