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Handb Clin Neurol. 2014;125:543-59. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62619-6.00031-8.

Alcohol-medical drug interactions.

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Department of Psychiatry and Brain Science Research Consortium at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry, Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Concomitant use of alcohol and medications may lead to potentially serious medical conditions. Increasing prescription medication abuse in today's society necessitates a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved in alcohol-medication interactions in order to help prevent adverse events. Interactions of medications with alcohol result in altered bioavailability of the medication or alcohol (pharmacokinetic interactions) or modification of the effects at receptor or ion channel sites to alter behavioral or physical outcome (pharmacodynamic interactions). The nature of pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic interactions involved in alcohol-medication interactions may differ between acute and chronic alcohol use and be influenced by race, gender, or environmental or genetic factors. This review focuses on the mechanisms underlying pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic interactions between alcohol and medications and provides examples for such interactions from replicated research studies. In conclusion, further translational research is needed to address several gaps in our current knowledge of alcohol-medication interactions, including those under various pathologic conditions.


alcohol; interactions; medication misuse; metabolism

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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