Hydrocodone and Alcohol

Since alcohol and hydrocodone are both central nervous system depressants (meaning they can both slow the functioning of the brain), it is recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol while using this medication. Drinking alcohol while using the narcotic can increase your risk of certain side effects. Abusing both substances at the same time is especially dangerous and may even be lethal.

Can I Combine Hydrocodone With Alcohol?

Alcohol and hydrocodone are both central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants). This means they both can slow the functioning of the brain. Importantly, both hydrocodone and alcohol can cause respiratory depression (shallow or infrequent breathing). Drinking alcohol while taking hydrocodone may increase your risk for serious reactions. Abusing hydrocodone and alcohol at the same time is especially dangerous and may even be lethal.
 
While some people may be able to safely take hydrocodone while simply limiting their alcohol consumption, others may find that they must avoid alcohol altogether. If you decide to drink while taking hydrocodone, it is best to drink only a very small amount. It is also good advice to have food with your alcohol and to be in the company of a trusted friend (who can help you if you get into a dangerous situation).
 

Hydrocodone and Alcohol Side Effects

Drinking alcohol while taking hydrocodone may increase your risk of certain hydrocodone side effects, such as:
 
  • Memory problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with coordination
  • Shallow or infrequent breathing
  • Passing out.
     
You may also be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol if you are taking hydrocodone. You may not be able to safely drink as much alcohol as you are used to drinking in the past. Also, a hydrocodone overdose is more dangerous if combined with alcohol. This includes both intentional overdose and accidental overdose (which is common in people who abuse hydrocodone).
 
While it is not recommended to drink alcohol while taking hydrocodone, you should not stop taking hydrocodone or stop drinking alcohol abruptly. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening. Also, stopping hydrocodone abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms (see Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms), although these symptoms are not usually life-threatening. If you take hydrocodone and have an alcohol problem, please seek help, as this is a complicated situation that requires the skills and knowledge of a qualified healthcare provider.
 
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