Thursday September 18th 2014

Mixing hydrocodone with alcohol

Are you considering mixing hydrocodone with alcohol?

Know what happens inside your body when these two drugs are combined, what are the side effects, and what can go seriously wrong. In general, how much hydrocodone is safe depends on a number of factors.  But hydrocodone is never safe when mixed with alcohol. And although hydrocodone overdose amounts vary by individual tolerance to opiates, you increase your risk of OD’ing when you drink while taking hydrocodone.    As usual, we also invite you to ask questions about mixing hydrocodone and alcohol in the comments section, at the end.

Hydrocodone and alcohol effects

Hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller, and can cause feelings of euphoria when taken in large amounts. Alcohol can intensify this effect and make the feeling of getting high on hydrocodone stronger. In self-reported anecdotes, people have reported some of these effects when mixing hydrocodone with alcohol:

  • drowsiness
  • euphoria
  • relaxation
  • numbness

However, alcohol has a chemical reaction with hydrocodone in the body and causes an additive effect of both substances in the body and brain when combined. That means that the effects of the alcohol and hydrocodone are both stronger when mixed. This can easily cause accidental overdose.

Dangers of mixing hydrocodone and alcohol

Taking alcohol and hydrocodone together can result in serious adverse reactions. This is due to the addictive depressant effects of hydrocodone and alcohol. Some potentially dangerous effects of mixing hydrocodone with alcohol include:

  • alcohol poisoning (lowered tolerance for alcohol)
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • shallow breathing
  • impaired coordination
  • overdose
  • slowed heart rate

And this isn’t just an issue with hydrocodone becoming more dangerous. It goes both ways. The effects of the alcohol are intensified as well. The sedative effects of alcohol will be heightened, causing trouble concentrating and difficulty with coordination. So, mixing hydrocodone with alcohol makes it more likely you’ll be involved with an accident or injure yourself. You also experience a greater intoxication from alcohol when mixing it with narcotics as your alcohol tolerance will be lower than normal. A lowered tolerance for alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Hydrocodone and alcohol overdose

You risk OD’ing on hydrocodone when you mix hydrocodone with alcohol. Both drugs make one another stronger and become more dangerous. In fact, doctors do not recommend mixing the two drugs. Sometimes it can even be dangerous to take alcohol and hydrocodone on the same day, even hours apart, depending on how much you’ve consumed of either substance.

Hydrocodone and alcohol deaths

Despite the dangers, hydrocodone is mixed with alcohol. Even normal doses of hydrocodone combined with alcohol can cause your breathing to slow or stop completely. However, if you abuse hydrocodone (snorting hydrocodone vs oral or taking more than prescribed) or take more than a normal prescription dose, you could overdose. The only way to avoid these risks is to decide not to drink at all while on hydrocodone.

Is it safe to drink on hydrocodone?

No, it’s not safe to mix hydrocodone and alcohol. The chemical combination of these two central nervous system depressants brings out the worst potential effects of both drugs. However, you should always ask your doctor for more information on taking hydrocodone and drinking safely, if you find the idea of giving up drinking too difficult. But the FDA warns against mixing the two at all.

Mixing hydrocodone alcohol questions

Do you still have questions about mixing hydrocodone with alcohol or other substances? Please leave your hydrocodone questions here. We try our best to answer all questions personally, and promptly. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who can help. Your experiences with mixing hydrocodone and alcohol are also welcome.

Reference Sources: NIAAA pamphlet: Harmful Interactions, Mixing Alcohol with Medicines
DEA: Hydrocodone
Medline Plus: Hydrocodone

Leave a Reply

54 Responses to “Mixing hydrocodone with alcohol
Jill
2:11 pm September 4th, 2012

My brother overdosed by taking 3 10mg hydrocodones and a lot of alcohol within a three hour period three days ago. He belched really long and then got very sick (spent two days in bathroom with dry heaves). He is still feeling very weak and dizzy. Is he still in danger?

7:37 pm September 4th, 2012

Hi Jill. It seems that the worst is past your brother, although he is probably dehydrated and in need of fluids. I would suggest, however, that he see a medical doctor ASAP for a health check and for suggestions on recovery.

jane
5:06 am October 13th, 2012

If you take liquid hydrocodone with a couple of shots of alcohol can that kill you? Say hypothetically the bottle says 1 tsp every 4 hours and you take an ounce with two shots of alcohol..can that kill you?

12:34 pm October 15th, 2012

Hi Jane. Syrups or solutions (clear liquid) containing hydrocodone are basically the same as pills that contain hydrocodone. One dose = 1 tsp = 1 tablet. What is the dosage of hydrocodone in the liquid.

While one dose combined with two unit is likely to make you very drowsy and slow the nervous system, mixing one dose of hydrocodone liquid with alcohol ONE TIME will most likely not lead to overdose, or death. High doses of hydrocodone or repeated hydrocodone dosing combined with high levels of alcohol can lead to respiratory depression (slowed breathing), slowed heart rate and eventual loss of consciousness. It is this state that is a sign of overdose and can lead to death.

But for your health, stay away from mixing any alcohol with any opiate or opioid medication! Regardless of its form!

Faye Boyd
4:42 pm January 5th, 2013

I take 3 pillows of hydrocodone 7.5 a day and 1 patch 25 mcg/h of Fentanyl Transdermal system. I change patches every other day .If I drink 3 or 4 beers every 2 or 3 days am I in danger

3:37 pm January 10th, 2013

Hello Faye. I’d suggest that if you are considering drinking while on opioids you consult your doctor for more information. This is more of a lifestyle issue, and you should learn more about what your options are in terms of pain management if you want to drink while taking these drugs.

shorty
3:28 am March 10th, 2013

If I take 1 lortab and drink a glass of white wine am I in danger of OD’n?

jack
11:21 pm March 10th, 2013

Last night was my first time taking hydrocodone. I took two 7.5 mg tablets (15mg total), but only a total of 750 mg apap (375 each). I also had a lot to drink, probably a total of 4 beers, 5 or 6 shots of vodka, and half a bottle of wine. My question is how to tell if I OD’d. I’m assuming i didnt considering it was only 15mg and it might be a stupid question (but i just dont know), but at one point a lot of my body was numb and i was breathing really slowly, and eventually i just blacked out. This is definitely something i will not be doing again, ever. so basically, how do you know if you overdose. what does it feel like, etc..?

1:49 pm March 11th, 2013

Hi Jack. Sounds like you’re pretty much describing an overdose. You can check in with emergency room staff or the poison control center near you. But the numbness and slowed breathing and blacking out sounds like an overdose. You were lucky to have not taken a fatal amount of either.

Deborah
3:24 am April 8th, 2013

My daughter has lyme disease and is suffers from much pain. However she has started drinking vodka with 2 to 3 of the loritab 10.
she is only allowed 3 pain pills a day. Now she is on iv antibiotics. The problem is that she will drink a fifth of vodka and mix with some of the pills. She becomes violent and also has episodes of passing out for just a minute or two and then she is back to acting crazy. She is 25 years old and has been sick for 4 years. She has been on the iv antibiotics for 4 months. This drinking thing started about 2 months ago. My heart is breaking and I am so lost. I just don’t know what to do. I could put her in rehad but she will loose home health care and her doctor will no longer give her the antibiotics. She is better now than she has been in 4 years. Her father and I do not know what to do. These meds are her only CHANCE of getting rid of this disease. If she looses her home health, insurance will no longer pay for the meds even if we could get another doctor to prescribe it. The meds are 4,000 a month. Without some help from insurance we could no way afford this alone. However I love my daughter and I don’t won’t her to overdose. She of course says she doesn’t have a problem and she does not need therapy but I know differently. She has gone as for as jumping off her balcony and breaking her arm in several places. She is having these crazy episodes every few days. Can anyone help me.

Ryan
12:39 am May 10th, 2013

Pray. Find out more about Jesus. He is a healing God and fixing your baby girl is something he can do. You just have to believe in him and ask him for direction.

Deborah
7:45 pm May 14th, 2013

Hello Ryan,
Thanks so much for the kind words. I do believe in God and we are praying everyday. I am asking for his direction and help. Your kind comment meant so much to me and helped in restoring my faith :)

I thinks she has stopped the drinking. She is acting normal again. She just suffers from so much pain.

God Bless You :)

Kara
7:14 am May 20th, 2013

I got my tonsils out 12 days ago, and was prescribed liquid hydrocodone. I have an outting (where alcohol will be present) tomorrow, and am still taking 10ml of hydrocodone 1-2 times a day for the pain. I am not taking it to reach an altered state of mind. would it be completely dangerous to have a few drinks a couple hours after taking 10 ml of hydrocodone?

8:52 am May 22nd, 2013

Hi Kara. Avoid alcohol completely while on hydrocodone. If you can’t NOT take a drink…you might want to consider why you can’t give it up…

White mike
10:51 pm May 31st, 2013

I drink everyday , beers , today I took two hydro condones hours b4 I drank , I was on my third beer n violently threw up , is that from the mixture of the two?

9:03 am June 3rd, 2013

Hello WM. Hydrocodone can induce vomiting and nausea on its own. Have you been prescribed hydrocodone in the past or tried it while NOT drinking? Also, drinking on hydrocodone can slow down your central nervous system and isn’t recommended ever.

Yvette
12:12 pm June 30th, 2013

My son is taking 6 to 8 lortaps daily and drinking at least 2 16 oz beers daily. What kind of damage is he causes his health?

Sarena
5:22 am July 9th, 2013

My granddaughters, guardian who is a nurse posted.. Loratabs and vodka when mixed in right proportion is a hook up when your sick!! No truth to that at all right???

Delbert L
5:50 am October 1st, 2013

I just took 4 7.5 hydrocodone/acetaminophenen and have 4 beers nows, with 3 bfore taking the pills, is this something serious I should be worried about???

8:51 am October 1st, 2013

Hello Delbert. Please call 1-800-222-1222 to be connected with the Poison Control Center.

John
3:55 pm November 4th, 2013

I took one 5mg hydrocodone and 3 hrs later i drink one beer at night arond 7pm and i couldnt sleep at all,im still awake the next day. My heart was racing fast, What can i take to stop my heart from racing so i can get me some sleep?

2:29 pm November 6th, 2013

Hi John. That’s strange, as both medications are central nervous system depressants. But I’m no expert. I’d suggest that you speak with a pharmacist to understand this chemical response better.

K
6:51 am November 21st, 2013

My friend is 6’2 and weighs 175. He took 2 7.5mg hydrocodones, smoked marijuana and drank 7-8 beers. When will it be safe for him to go to sleep? His pupils are slightly small, he is extremely tired, a little nauseous and his eyes are red.

2:38 pm November 21st, 2013

Hello K. In an acute situation like this, you can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a medical opinion.

KG
10:25 pm December 10th, 2013

My father takes hydrocodone and xanax daily. Hes at about 14 hydrocodone a day (well above the maximum) and can’t accurately figure out how many xanax he takes. On top of this, he is an alcoholic.. He is taking way too many of these pills (claims he NEEDS them) and mixes them with alcohol and does not eat. Hes been on this medication for many years. We can’t talk about his addiction (s) and thanks to the Hippa Law his doctor prescribing him all of these meds refuses to speak with us. This doctor is killing my father. What is there for us to do?! My best friends mother just recently passed away at 46 suddenly due to an overdose of hydrocodone. But he refused to believe it. Please help us.

9:32 am December 12th, 2013

Hello KG. I’d suggest that you contact your state’s attorney general’s office. There may be some legal action that you can take to get your father into the custody of the state and into addiction treatment. Additionally, you should be able to file a complaint against his prescribing doctor. If you need additional help, you might contact a licensed clinical social worker to learn about your options. My best wishes go out to you.

sima
1:43 am December 25th, 2013

If I took one dose of liquid hydrocodone late tonight and one dose late tomorrow night could I have a bottle of beer in the late afternoon tomorrow?

Nancy Mitchell
2:53 am December 27th, 2013

I take one hydrocodone every 12 hrs, and drink two glasses of red wine at nite. Is that still dangerous? And if so, what does it do?

ND
11:44 pm January 26th, 2014

Last night I was drinking a lot of vodka and I had a third of a prescribed bottle of hydrocodone. Now in the morning I’ve thrown up twice and I’ve felt noxious and have had a headache for hours. The right side of my right leg is numb. Please help me to know if I should visit the doctor or if that’s not necessary

12:01 pm January 27th, 2014

Hello ND. You can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an eval and medical advice. Also, be sure to follow up by talking with a psychologist. The decision to take so many hydrocodone at once must be prompted by deep feelings that you can explore together.

Brian
10:05 pm February 7th, 2014

I have actually found that drinking while on hydrocodone, particularly lorcet, makes you unable to feel the normal effects of alcohol. I don’t think it works this way for everyone but definitely for alcoholics. Therefor you end up drinking more. Also, once the pills begging to wear off the alcohol comes in strong. Severely drunk the next day. And noxious. These pills are scary.

carol
11:24 pm February 15th, 2014

my husband is 67 and an alcoholic. Drinks over a fifth of whiskey a week, plus quite a lot of beer. He has been diagnosed with a very bad cake of psoriasis and psoriactic arthiritis. He takes humira shot each week. He’s on Norvasc, and lisinopil for high blood pressure. takes methotrexate. Plavix, Mobic, folic acid, hydrocodone and a few other prescriptions daily. I’ve been told by many he can’t live long with all the pi;;s painkillers and alcohol. Could you give me some input?

Elizabeth
2:34 pm February 18th, 2014

my friends drugged my kool aid with kinky vodka and an unknown amount of hydrocodone. what should i do?

3:12 pm February 18th, 2014

Hello Elizabeth. You can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a quick check up. And ask your friend about the dosing: tablet or liquid, how many mg. of hydrocodone, etc. Then, consider your relationship with the “friend” who put the drink together.

Gerald
10:52 am March 18th, 2014

I had 2 1/2 beers and one small shot about 4 hours ago and I want to take 2 hyrdos that contains 10 mg I have previous history with medication but am no longer on them. Could I OD from that little bit of beer? I rarely drink.

Sara
5:26 am March 26th, 2014

Not planning on doing it again, but I took about 4 shots of 96% vodka, and a grand total of a single hydrocodone/acetaminophen 7.5. My alcohol tolerance is pretty high. I am 21 years old, 5’7″, and about 130 lbs. I am aware that mixing opioids and alcohol is not advised, is this dose going to kill me?

As
1:43 am April 19th, 2014

I drank one beer, about 2 hours ago but know I want to take my hydrocodone. Is it ok

Jack
6:22 pm May 29th, 2014

I usually drink 3-4 beers after getting home from work. About an hour before bed, I take one or two 5/325 hyrdocodone to help with back pain and to aid in a restful night’s sleep. I usually feel great, fall asleep easily, and sleep soundly. Specifically, what health risks are associated with this? Please don’t just say, “You should never mix the two.” Please explain why, in low doses, this could cause a health risk. Thank you!

8:11 am May 30th, 2014

Hello Jack. Drinking and taking hydrocodone is especially dangerous because it slows the autonomic nervous system activities of breathing and heart rate. I think that this is the main concern from experts who advise against drinking on hydrocodone, but you can always check in with your prescribing physician and/or a local pharmacist about their take on it.

antonella
7:16 pm June 11th, 2014

I drinked 1 5/325 norco on thursday and 1 on friday. But i started drinking beer on saturday around 7 in the afternoon and it has been already 4 days and i dont feel good do you think my body is toxicated because of the norco?

Mike
2:44 am June 20th, 2014

Can I drink one beer after taking one Hydrocodone pill 3 hours ago?

Scotty
4:48 pm June 30th, 2014

I have a degenerative back condition AND high blood pressure, sigh. The back pain is chronic and becomes debilitating at times. The amlodipine I take for the blood pressure helps a bit, but it’s not impressive. When I kick back at night and the back pain I’ve endured ALL day finally wins I have an impressive screwdriver and ONE hydrocodone 5/500 and shortly the pain level is diminished to almost nothing. The only side effects are a mild ‘buzz’-that I can live with, and a significant blood pressure drop to the upper 120s over 70s. There are no other noticeable effects from the combination of alcohol and hydrocodone and I do not have anymore to drink or take anymore or other drugs.

Lee
10:28 pm July 1st, 2014

I mixed hydros and Bacardi on one stupid night. I completely blacked out. I have no memories except random little moments like looking out the window of a car or at the back of my friends head. Thank god I was with good friends who got me home safe and sound. If I was in any other situation I’m sure I would have been in trouble. At one point they thought I had over dosed but apparently I popped up and told them how to get to my house. I will never again mix these two substances. Take the warnings seriously people.

Pedro Galvez
6:58 am July 5th, 2014

Hydrocodone stimulates me for some reason. I can’t sleep when I take them. I’ve read that some people have this happen besides me. I am not a drinker so I have no problem there. But if I take a couple hydrocodones and drink a couple cups of coffee, I can’t sleep all night. I normally drink about 6 cups of coffee a day anyway, and have no trouble sleeping because my body is used to the caffeine. But add a couple Hydrocodones and I can forget about sleeping for at least 15 hours.

teressa
6:44 am July 28th, 2014

I was prescribed Norco 325/10 1 tablet twice daily for my Fibromylgia and that worked for a couple weeks but started feeling like I needed more for the pain so I have been taken 2 in the morning and 2 at night. Is this too much? Also, it makes my skin itch especially my nose.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
11:55 am July 29th, 2014

Hello Teressa. What you are describing in your comment, the prescribed dose being effective only for the first few weeks and then you needing to increase the dosage in order to get the wanted effects is tolerance. The problem is, your body can quickly develop tolerance to the increased dose too, and constant increase of doses can lead to dependence and addiction.

Itching is a common side effect from the hydrocodone in the Norco. You need to bring this to the attention of the prescribing doctor. In the meantime, try some soothing cream for your skin itches, such as Aveno oatmeal cream or some other over-the-counter cream that has hydrocortisone in it for itch and inflammation relief.

Anne
3:22 am August 12th, 2014

I’m taking hydrocodone post-op (10mg every 4-6 hours). How long after a dose must I wait until it’s safe to have a drink or two?

Cj
11:35 pm August 13th, 2014

I went to a concert and took half a 750mg Vicodin early on day then went to concert and drank about 7 beers and a shot of jack….. I later got sick and had memory loss…. I don’t even remember the band taking stage and they wheeled me out in a wheelchair half way through the show??? I wonder if someone drugged my drink or what happened??? I have drank a lot more than that at past concerts and have taken 1 Vicodin too and never had that happen. Any thoughts???

Doug
10:46 pm August 29th, 2014

Hello, I have been experimenting with whiskey and Vicodin for some time due to the nature of my athletic injuries. The combo is the only thing that takes the pain away. Today I tried crushing some and found they dissolve well in jack Daniels. Is there more risk with this method (rather than consuming the pills whole)?

Sarah
5:02 pm August 30th, 2014

I am on antibiotics, and I have a medicated inhaler to help me breath. I have pneumonia. Last night I snorted two and a half pills and got extremely drunk. I blacked out for 5 hours. Don’t remember a thing. I happened to throw up everywhere though. My arms now feel weak and heavy and slightly numb, my body is in intense pain, my heart is beating so fast or so slow I can’t tell. Am I in danger of alcohol poisoning or anything?

Jake
12:55 am September 1st, 2014

Hello,

Just today I took 3 hydrocodone pain pills that were 7.5 mg with 250 mg Tylenol. A few hours ago I had about 6 shots of vodka and Im kind of worried i may have put myself in great danger. I know you most likely wont be able to answer me in time to calm me down but how dangerous do you think this is? I wasnt thinking about it i take the pain killers for pain from a surgery (i know 3 is too many but 2 dont help enough) but when I went to take them tonight I had forgot i just drank maybe 4 hours at max beforehand. Im calming down a little because its been about 20 minutes and the effects feel normal but im still a tad bit worried. Oh and im a pretty big guy I weigh about 250 or so

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
2:54 pm September 1st, 2014

Hi Doug. It is not recommended to mix any amounts of hydrocodone and liguor. Doing so could cause health problems and put you at the risk of serious damage to the liver, kidneys, and stomach wall.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
8:36 am September 2nd, 2014

Hello Jake. You can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a quick check up. A poison expert will make a free over-the-phone assessment of risks and give you advise. If things get worse Call 911.

Jake
8:59 pm September 2nd, 2014

Thanks Ivana. Im glad to say I was able to make it through the night although barely. I stayed awake the whole night because I was afraid of dying. I did pass out from exhaustion at around 5 am and ended up waking up at 8 late for work lol. Glad to say other than slight exhaustion and being sick to my stomach all of which have faded after a day of rest and well needed food. I was afraid I had done liver damage but ive gotten my apitite back and no more sickness and though you dont want to hear this my urine is also normal colored so I check all out. Needless to say ill make extra sure I havent taken pain meds before drinking or vise versa

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