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Alcohol and Health

Is It Safe To Drink on Prednisone?

June 21, 2023
7 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.
June 21, 2023
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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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Reframe Content Team
June 21, 2023
7 min read

You’ve had a rough day at work and, after dinner, you find yourself reaching for a glass of wine, hoping to unwind. But then you remember that you’re currently on Prednisone.

We've probably found ourselves in situations like these, faced with a decision: have a drink, take the medication — or both?

This article explores whether it's safe to mix Prednisone and alcohol and the science behind it.

Understanding Prednisone

Prednisone is a corticosteroid medication used to suppress our body's immune system, used for conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and severe allergic reactions.

Let's imagine our immune system as a collection of soldiers. Prednisone acts like a high-ranking officer, ordering these soldiers to stand down, easing our body's inflammatory response.

It's crucial to note that while Prednisone is very effective, it can come with a host of side effects, from mild ones (like insomnia and mood changes) to severe ones (like high blood pressure and weakened immunity).

Alcohol and Prednisone: Science in the Mix

Now, let's add alcohol to the equation. Drinking alcohol is like adding an unruly group of rebels to our imaginary battlefield. They don't listen to the officer's commands and often cause chaos.

In our bodies, alcohol can exacerbate Prednisone's side effects, causing more harm than good. Alcohol increases gastric acidity, leading to stomach issues like ulcers and stomach bleeding, which Prednisone can also cause.

Simultaneously, both substances can harm the liver, the body's primary detoxification organ.

What’s more, drinking while on a long-term Prednisone regimen could lead to osteoporosis, a disease that leads to the weakening and thinning of our bones. This is because Prednisone lowers our bone mineral density, increasing our risk of fractures.

Alcohol impacts the body’s response to insulin and can lead to insulin resistance. This is also the case for Prednisone and other corticosteroids — which means this combo could lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Another danger of mixing these two is that it might exacerbate whatever underlying condition is driving us to take Prednisone in the first place.

Symptoms of a Mix Gone Wrong

If we drink that glass of wine after taking our Prednisone, and make this a habit, we might experience a range of immediate and long-term symptoms:

  • Increased thirst
  • Swelling
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe depression
  • Mood changes
  • Stomach irritation or upset

While serious reactions are rare, these increase over time if we drink while on long-term doses of Prednisone.

Notably, our bodies may respond differently to the combination, and the severity of symptoms can vary widely. Therefore, recognizing these symptoms early and seeking medical help is crucial.

Taking Action To Safeguard Health

We've recognized the potential harm in mixing Prednisone and alcohol. What's next? Here are ways we can safeguard our health:

  • Understand your medication. Always discuss any alcohol consumption with your doctor if you're prescribed Prednisone. Consult with a healthcare professional to learn about Prednisone and its side effects to make informed decisions — and especially if you’re also taking other medications.
  • Cut back on drinking. Start cutting back on alcohol gradually. Try substituting delicious mocktails for alcoholic drinks.
  • Mindful drinking. If you choose to drink, be mindful and stay present in that experience. Here’s how.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to counteract the dehydrating effects of both Prednisone and alcohol.
  • Monitor your health. Keep an eye on any potential symptoms. If they persist, start a log detailing what you feel and when, and the timing of medication and any drinks you might have had.
  • Reach out for support. If you're struggling with reducing alcohol, consider reaching out to a support group or counselor. Whenever you’re ready, Reframe is here for you.

In conclusion, while that glass of wine after a long day is tempting, the potential risks of combining alcohol and Prednisone far outweigh the momentary relief.

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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!

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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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