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Alcohol and Medications

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Omeprazole?

April 25, 2024
10 min read
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A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
April 25, 2024
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
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Feeding Acid Reflux With Alcohol

  • Omeprazole reduces the amount of acid our stomach produces. Alcohol can make symptoms of acid reflux worse.
  • Adjusting our diet, eating habits, and water intake can help reduce acid reflux — quitting or cutting back on alcohol can also help!
  • Reframe’s neuroscience-based program helps you prioritize your health and well-being by changing your relationship with alcohol.

You just got back from lunch break, and you’ve got that familiar fire in your chest and bitter taste in your mouth. And you don’t dare bend over to pick up that paper you just dropped for fear your lunch will resurface. Ugh — heartburn again. It seems like you can’t eat or drink anything these days without instant regret. 

Your doctor recommended Prilosec, and it’s been helping so far, but you have a wedding to attend this weekend. Can you take omeprazole with alcohol? 

What Is Omeprazole? 

Omeprazole is a medicine —a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to be precise — used to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. Often known by the brand name Prilosec, omeprazole is used to treat frequent heartburn or conditions where too much acid is produced in the stomach: 

  • Gastric and duodenal ulcers 
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastroparesis 

In these conditions, there is too much acid in the stomach, and that acid is pushed from the stomach to the esophagus, causing us some unpleasant symptoms.

As a PPI, omeprazole slows gastric acid secretion by inhibiting an enzyme in the final step of the stomach’s acid secretion process. Does this mean that if we take PPIs we won’t have any stomach acid? No, PPIs only inhibit 66-80% of acid output in our stomach. Having less acid in our stomach can help reduce the instances of GERD, help our esophagus heal if we have erosive esophagitis, or rid us of gastric ulcers. 

Side Effects of Omeprazole

Prilosec is available to buy over-the-counter; however, it is not recommended to take it for more than 14 days without consulting a doctor first. While it is generally safe and effective, some people do experience side effects: 

  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting 

Extreme doses of 2400 mg (120 times higher than the recommended dose) can lead to more troublesome side effects: 

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Tachycardia
  • Blurred vision
  • Diaphoresis 

These symptoms are typically short-lived and don’t cause serious harm, but it is always safest to stick to the recommended dose on the box. 

How To Drink Safely While on Omeprazole

Omeprazole and Alcohol Interaction

From a molecular standpoint, Prilosec and alcohol do not specifically interact. However, as we learned above, alcohol can make our stomach produce more acid. If we are taking omeprazole, we are likely trying to reduce the acid in our stomach, so drinking alcohol may counteract the purpose of the medication. Essentially, alcohol can worsen our underlying problem of having too much stomach acid. 

Furthermore, alcohol and omeprazole share side effects that can be heightened if we use them at the same time. For instance, both can cause headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, and nausea. 

So we know there are problematic interactions between Prilosec and alcohol, but the question remains: can we drink alcohol with omeprazole? 

Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Omeprazole? 

The short answer is yes — there are no immediate dangers to drinking alcohol while taking omeprazole as there would be with sleeping pills. Drinking while on Prilosec doesn’t increase our chances of having severe side effects or an overdose of alcohol. However, most medical professionals suggest not drinking while on omeprazole since it can make our stomach issues worse. In the long run, continuously combining the two can lead to greater challenges:

  • Worsened acid reflux 
  • Increased chances of liver disease, injury, or cancer
  • Magnesium deficiency 

So, if we are on omeprazole and we want to drink, how long should we wait between the two of them? 

There is no straightforward answer, but we are supposed to take omeprazole 30-60 minutes before we eat. Likewise, we should wait at least 30-60 minutes before or after drinking alcohol.

How To Drink Alcohol Safely While on Prilosec

It is not recommended to drink alcohol while on Prilosec, but there is no risk to our immediate health if we do. Still, there are precautions we can take to drink alcohol safely while on omeprazole:

  • Drink in moderation. Whether you’re on omeprazole or not, this is always a good guideline.
  • Avoid spicy foods and carbonated drinks. Both can make our stomach acid worse.
  • Take a break from alcohol. If you are omeprazole for the 14-day, over-the-counter dose, hold off on alcohol while you get your acid production under control. 
  • Choose your booze carefully. Certain types of alcohol are less acidic than others. Generally, the higher the alcohol content, the worse we may react to it. A light beer may be better than a stronger spirit such as whiskey or scotch. Highly acidic drinks like ciders, white wines, and citrus cocktails can be harder on the stomach. 

The bottom line is that drinking alcohol while on omeprazole can make our acid reflux symptoms worse. If you’re experiencing daily discomfort due to heartburn, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether. 

The Bottom Line 

Ultimately, drinking alcohol while on omeprazole is safe but not recommended. There is no immediate risk of developing severe side effects or overdose, but if we are heavy drinkers and on PPIs long term, we are at greater risk for developing liver disease. Consult your prescribing physician before drinking alcohol if you are on Omeprazole for a chronic condition.

Summary FAQs

1. Can omeprazole cause alcohol intolerance?

No. Alcohol and omeprazole don’t interact at the molecular level and will not affect how our body processes alcohol. 

2. What is the biggest side effect of omeprazole? 

The most common side effects are headaches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. 

3. How soon can you drink alcohol after taking omeprazole?

As with eating, you should wait 30-60 minutes before or after drinking to take omeprazole. 

4. What to avoid while on Prilosec?

You should avoid acidic foods and drinks such as citrus fruit, apples, tomatoes, alcohol, carbonated beverages, soda, and energy drinks. 

5. Which alcohol is the least acidic?

Gin, tequila, and non-grain vodkas have the lowest acidity level. 

Drink Less and Thrive With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

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Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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