Alcohol can triple original dose of medicine

July 27th, 2012 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 27 (IANS) Always avoid alcohol while taking certain medicines because it actually triples the original dose, warn researchers.

Lab experiments have demonstrated how alcohol made several drugs up to three times more available to the body, effectively tripling the original dose, said Christel Bergstrom, associate professor of pharmacology at Monash University, who led the study.

Bergstrom and colleagues explain that beverage alcohol, or ethanol, can cause an increase in the amount of non-prescription and prescription drugs that are “available” to the body after taking a specific dose, the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics reports.

Alcohol can change how enzymes and other substances in the body interact with many of the 5,000 such medications on the market.

Some of these medications don’t dissolve well in the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the stomach and intestines, according to a Monash statement.

The researchers sought to test whether ethanol made these drugs dissolve more easily. If so, this would make the drugs more “available” in the body, possibly intensifying their effects when combined with alcohol.

They used a simulated environment of the small intestine to test how rapidly medications dissolved when alcohol was and was not present. Almost 60 percent of the 22 medications in their tests dissolved much faster in the presence of alcohol.

In addition, they found that certain types of substances, such as those that were acidic, were more affected. Some common acidic drugs include warfarin, the anticoagulant; tamoxifen, used to treat certain forms of cancer; and naproxen, which relieves pain and inflammation.

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