I know this has been asked before..... but how do people on here react with Alcohol and AF? I have read that it can increase side effects of meds like Bisoprolol (ie blood pressure) as well as affect the effectiveness of warfarin. Too much can also affect heart rate also I believe...

If you have AF, do you still drink a little, regularly or only once in a blue moon.

I gave up drinking after my 3rd cardioversion in as many months back in 2013. However, when I say give it up I mean nursing 1 pint a week at the pub quiz and a pint with a meal if it was someone's birthday...... id never held it responsible for a Fast AF attack in the past but thought I'd air on the side of caution.

42 Replies

  • G'day jedi master,

    Firstly - for my AF I am on Bisoprolol and Warfarin. I am on other meds for other things, but lets stay with AF. Alcohol has not affected my AF in any way, nor does it impact on the above meds (or indeed any other meds). In the early days I attended for Cardioversion but by then my heart had returned to NSR on its own. I opted not to have an ablation. So that's the background.

    I drink alcohol every day to a consistent pattern. Some days 2 x 330ml bottles of a lager before my evening meal and two small glasses (175 ml ??) of red wine with the evening meal. Alternate days, 2 x doubles of gin, (ice and lemon) with a 150 ml can of low calorie tonic water before the evening meal ... then the two small glasses of red wine with the meal.

    Simply - no impact at all on AF, meds or anything. No problem in keeping my INR in range either. No problem in keeping my heart rate at around 65 to 72 bpm. Annually, my GP runs the obligatory blood tests on cholesterol/kidney/liver/thyroid functions on account of the meds. All normal, although this year they have increased the frequency of my thyroid blood tests from annually to three monthly.

    I guess I'm just a good 'ole normal alcoholic :-)

    Hope this helps.

    May the force be with you.


  • Oddly before my ablation I never found alcohol had any affect on my heart but some foods really did me in. We never really got to the bottom of it but it does seem high salt content was one possibility, but salmon in particular was a possible trigger for my AF.

  • I drink 5 beers a night some times 10 on weekends sometimes a glass of wine every now and then ( I am a publican after all ) mainly light beer ( for you pommies that is 2.5 percent alcohol ) and have been in NSR for 20 months thanks to 50mg of flecainide twice a day and 25 mg of metoprolol twice a day and no side effects.

    But that's me every one is different .

    Good luck

  • My only issue in the past with alcohol has been the day after a binge session. If I've had too much then the following evening I tend to go into AF. I put this down to dehydration as this is definitely one of my triggers. I've had AF episodes after long gym sessions, which again I put down to dehydration. Alcohol hasn't effected my meds (Flecainide & Warfarin), although since the New Year I haven't drunk much at all. I know fellow AF sufferers who have no issue at all with it and some who have a taste and are in trouble. it's the old adage of we are all different I guess.

    I hope you're feeling better after your last ablation by the way.



  • Alcohol affects me a few hours after drinking. One small glass of wine would probably be OK but I don't want one small glass. So gone tee-total a year or more ago. To be honest, although it took time, I feel quite a lot better for it and I like the fact I can do anything, any time, i.e. drive / use machinery / take someone to hospital in the middle of the night etc etc.

    Big down-side is you end up driving everyone :-( .


  • Know that problem Koll!

  • Don't drink spirits any more (tho the post about gin and tonic had my mouth watering!) but do drink half a bottle of wine every night, red or white, fairly good quality and occasionally I will knock back a bottle. Odd gin if I am out but nothing like I did. Feel fine on it. Consultant says fine, wafarin fine - everyone is different. I'm a very stocky type of person so guess alchohol has somewhere to go and I have always drunk - I do like the wine tho it took me ages to not want gin.

  • Whilst binge drinking is known to be a trigger for AF there is only anecdotal evidence that alcohol in small amounts can. Some people do report problems but if you feel good then why not try a small amount and see. I found that even traces in food set me off but also proved that it wasn't the alcohol as such because I had problems with non alcoholic beer and wine. I concluded that my trigger was actually an enzyme produced during alcohol fermentation as these alcohol free drinks are made in the same way and then have the alcohol removed by reverse osmosis.


  • Unless I am the one person you are thinking of, any alcohol of any kind put me straight into AF at the first sip. In order I stopped drinking whisky, the oddly beer, then red wine, then white. The only thing that didn't affect e immediately was a very small glass of champagne.

    Thankfully since ablation I can now imbibe.

    I asked my EP who said a small amount every day was better than drinking no alcohol - my small amount he suggested 1 glass of wine, preferably red. He said that there is a well researched curve with non drinkers at one end and binge drinkers at the other. Those in the middle do much better generally.

  • It was like that with me C Dreamer but there is a world of difference between anecdotal evidence and scientific research.


  • I disagree as qualitive is also considered a sound scientific basis as quantative, it is just that not many people use it in medical research as they prefer hard data. No-one is ever going to that sort of research as it would never pass an ethical panel.

    I would argue that having a poll on this forum would be a scientific research it would depend upon how the question was asked of course.

    It seems to me that many in the medical profession who prefer objective rather than subjective data. Unfortunately.

  • I can only go on what I am told by EPs and other specialists and whilst my own personal experience may confirm your idea it is not a FACT that I can lay down. Of course as most of us know, facts have a finite life and what we think it true today may be proved otherwise in two or three years time. vis the don't eat high fat foods thing. I remember Woody Allen's "Sleeper" do you? Only a few years out in prophecy.


  • I certainly remember sleeper! Definition of a fact:- the latest thinking of a majority of experts on a given subject, in a given geographical location, on a marked point of time.

    The case of low fat foods being 'better' for you an example.

    Go well.

  • I'm still waiting for the Orgasmatron or was that Barbarella. LOL

  • The latter!

  • You are of course right but they did have some kind of cabinet thing in Sleeper as well.

  • Stopped altogether 2 years ago !!

    EP said could affect meds and cause side effects .

  • I was told the same so stopped completely 12 months ago..

    Prior to stopping I was a bottle a night person ...Never thought I could give it up but I have....Didn't think it was ethical not to as my EPs were doing there best to fix my heart...(I hear of some people carrying on smoking after being diagnosed and on meds which is such a pity really)

    Although a friend bought me a bottle of Morrison's alcohol free wine just last week...l had two glasses whist having a bite to eat even though Alcohol free I had an adverse reaction...

    I don't need Alcohol free wine I am Ok with water but some of my friends have more of a problem with my abstaining than I do...Carol...

  • That is so true. Some of my friends are fine as they have found that as they get older, alcohol doesn't agree with them. However most of my friends and family still have a real problem with it. These days, instead of saying" I can't drink" I say " I don't drink " and that seems to keep them happier. I am no saint though and have had more than my fair share in the past I just don't trust myself to stick to one glass I'm afraid. X

  • Haha same here I was a "lush"

    My pals seem to think I am suffering not drinking but I don't need it anymore....Pleased to see you are doing so well following Ablation....Carolx

    Ha we've discussed our addictive personalities before I seem to remember ....Cx

  • We have but it doesn't help to keep reminding ourselves!

  • Oops I meant, doesn't HURT not doesn't help.x

  • ahh keeps us on our toes!x

  • I stopped drinking two years ago dont miss it and didnt want to take a chance but we are all different.

  • I drink alcohol a couple of nights a week and have quite a few on a Saturday. No effect whatsoever on meds or my AF and have a very stable INR count.

  • I drink about a bottle of wine a week, but not spaced as regularly as it probably should be, over four nights usually. I've found that more than two small glasses of wine and my heart rate goes up - the bisoprolol normally keeps it down. I don't go out of NSR as such, but it's much faster, around 80BPM... When I went to Portugal last year people were pressing alcohol on me every evening and when I got back I had my INR done just a few days later and it was high, so it does have an effect on me at least.

  • Stopped drinking New Years Day 2011 for a month. Now in 4th year of sobriety. I was a wine drinker; loved it. Red wine definitely became a trigger if I had a little too much but the problem was that "too much" seemed to vary enormously. Strangely I don't miss it, although the largely empty wine rack glares at me accusingly from time to time, and overall feel much better without it. As others have said it means I am always the designated driver. The biggest problem I have is finding non-alcoholic drinks that aren't laden with sugar. Becks Blue is about the best I've found for the occasional cold one.

  • I stopped drinking all alcohol about eight months ago. I miss it at Christmas and when on holiday but fully expect to be back drinking beer at my local pub at some time in the future. (I stopped drinking spirits over 25 years ago and can't appreciate a good wine because I don't have any sense of smell).

    My research suggested that alcohol depletes magnesium in the body and a deficiency of magnesium and potassium is widely regarded as a contributory factor for AF. That is why I stopped drinking and started taking a magnesium supplement. It seems to be helping.

    I have tried a lot of non alcoholic beers and lagers and there is (in my opinion) only one that is any good. It is Dorada Sin which I found in Gran Canaria and I am still looking for it in the UK.

  • Try cobra non alcoholic asda very nice

  • Morning all. Alcohol consumption I am told is the main and possibly only reason behind my Afib, I am now in near permanent Afib and have cut down to around 30 units a week, however this is spread over only 3 days, so medically I am a binge drinker. I know if I give up the alcohol, Afib will potentially go away or at least reduce to far less than it is.

    So I suppose I'm saying, sometimes it really is a lifestyle choice. !

  • I drink about a bottle of wine every night with my evening meal and everything seems ok.

    Knowing my lifestyle my GP refused to put me on warfarin and put me on rivaroxiban instead.

    She said it would be a waste of NHS funds putting me on warfarin as alcohol would only negate the effectiveness of the drug but rivaroxiban or the other new anticoagulants are not affected by drink or diet

    A bottle of wine or a few glasses of beer do not trigger me off but we have to bear in mind that we are all different

  • I have never liked the taste of alcohol so it has had nothing to do with my AF. Half a glass of wine puts me to sleep.

    As a teenager I felt very sheepish about asking for 'pop' in a pub but have no problems now that I know that their profit margins are high on my lime and lemon.

  • Hi Jedimaster, having read many of the posts on this subject it is quite clear that we are all different. For some it is a trigger and for others not. Thank goodness it has never been a trigger for me, I have always included red wine in my diet and have not found it had any significant effect on bp or heart rate. Some evenings, if entertaining, I have had 4 or 5 glasses and no ill effects. I have struggled to get my INR in range since starting warfarin last May, it has constantly been under 2 and I wonder if I didn't, have any alchahol if it would be even lower. I think it is a case of knowing how it affects you personally and going with it. Keep well.


  • I would just love to have a bottle of beer this weekend, however pretty sure that unfortunately I am one of the unlock ones that alcohol does bring on my AF albeit not always immediately but defo within 24hrs.

    Recovering from Ablation and not had a drink since new year, now is not the time to indulge in any alcohol consumption, who knows what the future holds, because although it does not bother me most of the time I did not want to be teetotal or the nominated driver when ever we go out 😞😞

  • I am in permanent afib since 2012 with light symptoms or no one at all, and drink once or twice a week, try not to exceed two classes of red wine ou two bottles of beer. Though, sometimes I do half a bottle of wine. I do not feel alchool has a significant ou even noticeable effect on my condition. But as said by many, that is quite individual ...

  • on bisop/warfarin/statin/ramipril/aspirin.

    Permanent AF

    Have drunk consistent 1 litre medium beer per night, for as long as I can remember, certainly before af diagnosed. Never drink before 6pm, drink slowly through the evening. No spirits, bit of red wine(after all i am in Algarve 5 months of the year with good wine at €1.99.

    INR always in range. No other issues at all. Never binge but know that to be a trigger `holiday AF` very common.

  • Hello, since I was diagnosed with AF in July last year, I have only ever had half a glass of wine on special occasions - Christmas and Boxing Day and to be honest since then haven`t had any at all. You can get some really good non-acoholic wines from Sainsbury`s even a sparkling (champagne type) wine. Have tried other supermarkets but prefer Sainsbury`s. Hope this info helps and good luck!

  • Going back to an old topic. Why are you on warfarin and aspirin?


  • mine same whether having alcohol or not

  • I think you are right to er on the side of caution, better to have a pint a week than 5 or 6 and risk AF episode. For me, after New Years eve have 2 glasses of wine and being woken at 5.30 am in AF I decided I would rather have no alcohol than be on edge drinking a glass now and again. When your heart rhythm is ok you tend to think well a bit of AF wouldnt be too bad if I have a few drinks but in my experience I never forget each AF episode and never will. Hey-ho

  • I use to only drink one or two glasses of wine a day (usually red) and a bottle lasted three or four days. This is below the NICE guidelines!!! Occasionally if I was out I had two or three pints of lager shandy. Never spirits.

    When I saw my EP for the first time in October he said ideally NOT to have any alcohol or reduce alcohol intake to an absolute minimum (from what I was having). He said that from research, alcohol is stimulant for AF also it encourages new "electrical paths" and that it would probably affect me even though I was already in persistent AF. From that point until my Cardioversion in the middle of November not to have any. I had my cardioversion but only lasted in NSR for a week before reverting to persistent AF.

    When I saw him again he said that whilst I could have a very small amount each week spread over a number of days if I was to give my heart the best chance and give the ablation (which I haven't yet had) the best chance then not to have any alcohol. To me it was a no brainer not to have any!!!! The only thing that I have had is a sherry glass of champagne on new year's eve. I have missed having it a bit but nowhere near as much as I would have thought!!!

  • This site is quite detailed on alcohol and its impact on the body. Not pretty. In case anyone wants to look.

    I have never drank very much and do not now since having AF. But since I never drank much anyway, it is easy for me not to drink now. People like me because they can rely on me to be the designated driver and it is interesting to see how people change when they drink and I can remember the next day!

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