Friday April 18th 2014

Mixing Vicodin with alcohol

Are you considering mixing Vicodin with alcohol?

You need to evaluate the risks and dangers of mixing Vicodin with alcohol first. How much Vicodin is safe varies by person but even prescription doses go funky when mixed with alcohol. Here, we present what happens in your body when you combine Vicodin and alcohol and what can go wrong. Your questions about mixing Vicodin and alcohol are welcomed at the end.

Vicodin and alcohol effects

Vicodin is a narcotic painkiller that contains the opioid hydrocodone, which can cause feelings of euphoria when taken in large amounts. Alcohol can intensify the euphoric effect of Vicodin, which many people find pleasant. In self-reports, people who drink while taking Vicodin have reported some of these effects:

  • drowsiness
  • euphoria
  • relaxation
  • numbness

However, getting high on Vicodin bad is possible, especially when you mix the two. Vicodin reacts chemically with alcohol, and has an additive depressant effect in the body and brain when combined. That means that the effects of the alcohol and Vicodin are both stronger and more dangerous when taken together. In other words, mixing Vicodin and alcohol is a quick way to accidentally overdose and die from Vicodin.

Dangers of mixing Vicodin and alcohol

Taking alcohol and Vicodin together can cause dangerous side effects. The dangers of mixing Vicodin and alcohol are mainly due to the addictive effects of Vicodin and alcohol. So, the nervous system effects of Vicodin are intensified by the addition of alcohol (a depressant) in the bloodstream. Some potentially dangerous effects of mixing Vicodin with alcohol include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • shallow breathing
  • impaired coordination
  • overdose
  • slowed heart rate

However, Vicodin isn’t the only drug that becomes more dangerous when mixed. The effects of the alcohol are intensified as well. Your alcohol tolerance will be lower than normal, which can lead to drinking too much and potential alcohol poisoning. Plus, you can experience a greater intoxication from alcohol when mixing it with narcotics, which can be potentially deadly. Further, alcohol also makes you sleepy, drowsy, and lightheaded as it takes a sedative effect on the body. Drinking and using Vicodin can cause trouble concentrating, difficulty with coordination, slowed reaction time, and other issues which can cause accidents.

Vicodin and alcohol overdose

Your risk of overdose on Vicodin goes up when you mix hydrocodone with alcohol. The effects of both drugs are much stronger together than they are on their own. The practice of mixing alcohol and Vicodin can be dangerous even if you take them a few hours apart, because some of the Vicodin will still be in your system and could cause a bad reaction.

Vicodin and alcohol deaths

It’s very common to people to mix alcohol with narcotics like Vicodin, despite the dangers. But even normal doses of Vicodin combined with alcohol can cause breathing trouble or serious health issues. And if you abuse Vicodin or take more than a normal prescription dose, you might overdose and die. The only way to avoid these risks is to decide not to drink at all while on Vicodin.

Is it safe to drink on Vicodin?

No, it’s not safe to mix Vicodin and alcohol. In fact, doctors do not recommend drinking while taking Vicodin. This combination just enhances the most dangerous effects of both drugs. If you’re not sure how far apart to space a prescribed dose of Vicodin and social drinking, you should ask your doctor for more information on taking Vicodin and drinking safely. But the FDA warns against mixing the two at all.

Mixing Vicodin alcohol questions

Do you still have questions about mixing Vicodin with alcohol or other substances? Please leave your Vicodin questions here. Your experiences with mixing Vicodin and alcohol are also welcome. 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.

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

Leave a Reply

19 Responses to “Mixing Vicodin with alcohol
frank
9:03 am November 28th, 2012

i consume an average of 12 10-325 lortab daily…been doing it for 13 years….i have a screwed up leg…i fell into a grain auger when i was young…lortab made me live a somewhat normal life…my stomach is fine…i do get withdrawals once ina while when i ran out…and drink beer sometimes…am i ok…

2:38 pm November 28th, 2012

Hello Frank. Thanks for your message. I’d suggest that you check in with your prescribing doctor for advice about drinking while taking hydrocodone. As it seems that you have a regular and predictable dosing regimen, I wonder if it’s possible that you drink at all. It might be best to avoid alcohol 100%. But check in with your MD, or ask a pharmacist for a second opinion.

frank
4:04 pm November 28th, 2012

i for got to mention…every morning i get up…I start pucking…my left leg…shaking…my left hand extremely shaking…i found an immediate cure for that…and that is to open three beer cans…and drink them fast…then the shake is gone…frank

Brina
5:08 am December 8th, 2012

I was on Vicodin for pain after surgery. I was also on about 4 different types of psych meds (SSRI’s, antidepressants, etc). It was Halloween and I went to a party with some friends, and drank way too much liquor. Probably about 8-10 drinks. I was distracted and having fun and didn’t even think about the fact I was on meds that could interact badly with alcohol. I remember feeling drunk for about ten minutes, and then I have flashes of what happened after that. For the most part, though, I was unconscious for the next several hours. I woke up in the hospital the next day. My friends told me that I had had what seemed like a panic attack and I had been screaming for everyone to kill me and then I stopped breathing and they called 911. Apparently I could have died. Anyway, I ended up in the psych ward because I had asked to be killed. I didn’t even remember saying that! Consciously I didn’t even feel suicidal. Anyway…point is, don’t mix alcohol with Vicodin or psych meds. You end up unconscious, in the hospital, and possibly dead. I know I’m very lucky to still be alive today.

frank
10:51 pm December 8th, 2012

like i mentioned being consuming..120milligrams or more on a daily basis…i do quit using it…not pleasant…i am in bed 90 percent of the time….13 years of daily use…you know…i don’t have a problem with it..it’s just what’s outhere…it can kill you..stuff like that…i find it to be a positve…in my life…just a little frightened…i guess..take care…franktheman…

ronni
11:12 pm January 4th, 2013

I found out a relative takes vicodin for a sport injury and drinks beer or vodka with it (several drinks at night). I was told because it hasn’t caused a problem, he thinks it is okay to do this. I fear for his safety and would like a comment on what could happen to him if he continues.

9:02 am January 5th, 2013

Hi Ronni. Well, if he continues, your relative may experience any of the dangers of mixing Vicodin with alcohol listed above. He can become unconscious, experience shallow breathing and slowed heart rate, and/or overdose. Prevention of injury, however, comes with a full objective assessment of risk. If your relative likes the euphoric effect, it may be difficult to convince him to stop combining the two…but there is good reason!

Dawn
8:59 am January 6th, 2013

I am on an anti-depressant and was prescribed Vicodin because I have the shingles. I didn’t take the Vicodin all day and I had about a glass and a half of wine around 9pm. I took one pill when I got home around 2am. By then, the alcohol had worn off, however, I noticed my heart felt like it was coming out of my chest and that I needed to take deep breaths. It felt like the beating was more noticeable and I cant tell if my heart rate has slowed or quickened. I am concerned. Should I be?

2:09 pm January 6th, 2013

Hi Dawn. Call the Poison Control Center to report your symptoms. It’s possible that there is a drug combination causing these issues. Either way, you need immediate medical advice.

1-800-222-1222

food for thought
2:23 pm June 6th, 2013

My dad has been mixing Vicodin with alcohol for over 20 years. He had a tolerance for both and knew what he was doing. Most recently, I warned him about the dangers, but you know people, they always know better. A couple days ago, he went to sleep and did not wake up. He will be cremated within the next couple of days. While he had built a tolerance, the compound effects of mixing these two substances can be very lethal. Like a friend told me once when I was tightening a hose clamp, “tight is tight, and broke is broke.” Once you over tighten a hose clamp, is makes a pop sound and the thing is ruined. Once you OD on Vicodin and alcohol, it is likely that someone will be paying for your funeral.

shorty
8:36 pm June 19th, 2013

I’m laid up after surgery — only bathroom and back, on crutches. I’ve had a drinking problem for a while, and keep booze hidden in the bedroom. I have hydrocodone with IBUPROFEN, not acetaminophen, and have been taking it sparingly, but am also drinking a fair amount (I’m alone most of the day). After reading several links about hydrocodone/Vicodin, I’m scared about side effects — are they less dire if no acetaminophen, or still super scary? I haven’t noticed any heartbeat or breathing problems over the past three days.

11:43 am July 5th, 2013

Hello Shorty. Still super scary. Call 1-800-662-HELP to talk with someone about finding help for untreated alcoholism. You can make the choice to live without alcohol. But mixing alcohol with hydrocodone can provoke overdose.

Matt
4:58 pm October 13th, 2013

Last night I took one vicodin and had 17 shots of liquor. I threw up a lot this morning and am a little worried about my liver. Can this one night of drinking with vicodin destroy my liver?

7:31 am October 14th, 2013

Hello Matt. Liver damage usually occurs over time. But if you want to be sure that you are medically fit…you can request some blood tests from your family doctor or general physician. Liver enzyme tests, formerly called liver function tests (LFTs), are a group of blood tests that detect inflammation and damage to the liver. Best of luck to you.

samantha
3:06 am October 19th, 2013

I took 1 vicodin 1000 and drank a third of a mikes hard which is 5%…I’m feeling very nauseous and my throat is starting to itch. I’ve taken vicodin and drank way more before but they were watsons…and not name brand like the kind I took tonight. Is there that much of a difference between name brand and generic. And could I be having a slight allergic reaction? And how bad is all of this for my stomach lining and or kidneys? I know I deserve to feel this way for doing something so careless. But I’m starting to get concerned and can’t ask my doctor because I take it for actual pain…and don’t want to loose my script.

4:24 pm October 22nd, 2013

Hi Samantha. Any time you make a mistake like this, you can call the Poison Control Center for an objective, medical opinion at 1-800-222-1222.

sue
6:51 pm March 10th, 2014

My friend is in the hospital fighting for his life because he took vicodin and had three drinks of alcohol. It is true that only a few drinks with a vicodin can be deadly. They put those warnings on a prescription bottle for a reason.

Judy
3:17 pm April 15th, 2014

What would the complications be if someone overdosed on vicoden while they were drunk? A friend of mine accidently overdosed on vicoden when she was intoxicated.

1:14 pm April 16th, 2014

Hello Judy. Most overdose complications occur during and are resolved acute intoxication, unless breathing/heart rate slowed down enough to cause brain damage. I’d suggest a full medical exam if you suspect long term damage caused by mixing Vicodin and alcohol.

Leave a Reply