Pain medication and alcohol !

Am I always going to have to choose between pain relief and a few glasses of wine ? Dire warnings on the Tramadol leaflet as well as the carbamazepine I take for neuralgia ? How does anyone else deal with this ? OK it probably should be clear but drinking wine with a meal relaxes me, makes me feel I have a life beyond thinking about and managing pain. There are fewer and fewer pleasures I can share with my husband. Eating good food with great wine is one of them. But then I'm too scared to take anything other than paracetamol . Thoughts anyone ?

28 Replies

  • I am trying to think of any meds where it doesn't say - do not drink alcohol. I can't.

    My inderstanding of alcohol mixed with strong drugs is that the drugs lose their effectiveness. Possible the same with all drugs.

    David likes his wee dram of Whisky om a night - like you id sems to deaden the pain world in which he lives.

    Surveys have been done as to how many CP sufferers have a drink 'problem' as well. The answer is high numbers.

    Elderflower bubbly is a very pleasant alternative to wine and it is alcohol ftrr. But agree there is no real substitute for the affect alcohol gives you.

    Pat x

  • PS Think I should have said alcohol acts as a barrier to the pain meds getting into you . Like wrapping tour insides in cling film!

    Pat x

  • I'm not surprised cp sufferers have alcohol problems because it actually relieves pain! The side effects mean that like most pain meds it makes you silly in the head so not suitable for use during the day etc...I had a friend on Tramadol and she would nightly consume several G&Ts plus wine. I don't think it stops the meds working but it just taxes the liver more. I quite often drink a bottle of wine to relax in company and enjoy myself. Jeez life is crap enough without denying a few treats! Perhaps try a glass of wine and see what happens? You'll probably just be drunk after one glass as the effects are intensified. You might not like it at all. Probably give you a headache next day.... It's probably better for you than paracetamol!

  • I do drink but just miss the pills that night. The tramadol leaflet says danger of death ! but I suspect that really applies to getting hammered not the 3 or 4 glasses of wine I'd like to occasionally drink. My daughter mixes a mean cocktail !.

  • Did you realise that recommended daily limits are 2-3 units a day, and your 3-4 glasses of wine is likely to be 6-8 units, depending on size of glass and strength of wine?

  • Haha! My daughter makes a mean cocktail too! :) I read somewhere that Florence Nightingale had a bad back and used to quaff opium and red wine to relieve the pain! I dare say she knocked back a dram before she hit the life boats! Lol. I'm pretty sure that if you have 2 or 3 glasses of wine you won't need the tramadol anyway.....also, i dare say a sugary snickers bar isn't exactly good for the liver either and there'll be a few of those consumed this xmas. Best wishes. X

  • Hi,

    I imagine it must be hard to give up alcohol if you are use to enjoying a glass or three, or whatever it happens to be at mealtimes or on social occasions. Personally, I stopped drinking alcohol years ago, but was just an occasional drinker of Tia Maria, so didn't find that hard at all. Mind you just typing it has made me think...... I wonder.?? Should I dare?....

    Like many of you I have multiple health problems, and am on so much medication that I decided it just wasn't worth the risk for me. I have taken carbamazepine for years, along with another anticonvulsant for epilepsy and have also been on strong painkillers for years also, so decided it wasn't a good mix for me to add alcohol in as well. Having epilepsy and then adding alcohol runs the high rise of having additional seizures which to me, is not an acceptable risk.

    Interestingly, I too have extremely bad neuralgia but my anticonvulsants have had no effect on it whatsoever, but am presently on Bu-trans patches topped up with Tramadol if needed. I can only take Tramadol for a couple of days before side effects kick in, and also an increase of seizures so avoid taking it unless really necessary.

    Like many of you, most of my pleasures are not possible now-a-days, and there is no doubt it is so, so hard at times. When I look back, and how I enjoyed my dogs and taking them long walks on this beautiful island I live on, and things like that, not being able to socialise much and being on my own when sometimes I just need someone there for a while to reassure me and say," you are doing fine, just keep on doing what you are doing and you will get there." That is what I miss. These moments of needing reassurance tend to come through the night so there is no one around.

    Luckily, I take great pleasure in the simple and free things of life, such as nature and creation. I am fortunate where I live that there is that in abundance, but the exhaustion chronic pain brings is debilitating. For a while I was putting that down to lung problems but now think it is a combination of the two. I have recently had a TIA ( not maria lol) and at first was highly indignant about it, but now think I was lucky, as it was a warning and steps can be taken to try and ward off further episodes. Positive thinking, and I do know it is not always easy, really I do, and humour as well as faith seem to work for me. Also when able being able to bring a smile to someone or support and help them is very rewarding too.

    Actually, when starting this post I did mean to point out the various effects of combining both carbamazepine and tramadol with alcohol, but went way off on a waffle instead.!! LOL I reckon most of you know anyway about the toxicity of tramadol and that most people cannot take tramadol and alcohol at the same time as both of these affect the central nervous system and impair thinking and judgement.

    At the end of the day, we can only do what we can to help ourselves, and as far as drinking wine with strong painkillers I would take just a small amount to see how you are affected, as everyone is different. The only problem would be if anyone was drinking moderately every day alongside taking tramadol, then that would definitely affect the liver.

    This has turned into an edition of War and Peace, so now I will leave you in peace and hoping you can get some pain relief and quality of life, as that is what we all miss so much.

    Take care,

    hugs from Huggs xxx :)

  • You takes your chances.

    You may be ok or you may end up in A and E.

    If I took Tramadol and mixed in booze I would feel like death.

    A risk too far for myself.

    But we all have different tolerances.

  • Its worth having a discussion with your doctor about this. Some meds really don't mix with alcohol at all, and other meds aren't quite so critical - as long as the alcohol quantities are small - bearing in mind that most people's idea of one or two drinks is actually far more than the recommended daily limits by the time you take larger glass sizes and fairly high percentage alcohol in todays wines into account.

    The main thing to take into account is the impact on your liver - if your liver blood tests are absolutely fine, and the meds you take don't have a critical reaction with alcohol, then you might be able to get away with an occasional small glass of wine. Personally, I'd rather find a non-alcoholic drink that tastes good with food (maybe something like a really nice non-alcoholic cider) than risk the effects of alcohol - short or long term.

  • Hi!

    Personally, I stopped drinking alcohol years ago, and now I'm just an occasional drinker. As for you, find an alternative non - alcoholic drink that tastes good with food, to avoid its effect. In dealing and managing pain, I take some supplements of Kingly Velvet. It was recommended to me by my aunt who suffered from pain. Hope this will help.

  • if you allow 2 hours before and after taking your medication alcohol will have no effect on the pain or any other type of meds they give you.

    you might want to research Japanese knotweed this is one of the most amazing medicinal plants we have got and I'm sure its good for neuralgia if my memory serves me right there are loads of scientific studies being carried out, if they planted this plant in Africa it would cure their hunger problems very quickly as well as containing Vitamin c and resveratrol

    It is not to be taken with paracetamol or any other meds that affect the liver and no-one should be taking paracetamol or panadol for pain as they are no better than a placebo and can cause liver damage in fact panadol has been proven to have no pain killing effects whatsoever and is just a sugar pill.

    the safest and possibly most effective pain killer is to combine both forms of phenylalanine D and L crush the respective tablets up and then mix 20 per cent of each into some distilled water increase dose if this is not enough.

    All medications should be crushed and distilled in water as this neutralizes some of the toxins out of them and makes them a lot safer for us.



    one more thing that would be beneficial is to bathe your feet in some Epsom salts every night and then massage with a high quality sesame seed oil, your feet are connected to your nervous system and will help relax various parts of your body

  • I agree with most above, find nice alternatives, pace your drugs against drinking, and have lots of water to hand. However, like dieting, the more you tell yourself you can't, the more you want! I didn't take any drinks for years, but now I sometimes indulged although I tend to vary my drugs each day ...I d cope with some pain to avoid lethargy, so I'm well practice's at juggling things. Do think to try it out before Xmas don't want to find out that it's not possible for you and be I'll when it would spoil other's day by being unwell. And anyway, what a good excuse!

  • You are making sense Heorte . I do drink a couple of times a week but never take the ' heavy duty' medication after doing so. Sadly I'm viewing Christmas as a mountain to be climbed. I'll be wandering around with an icepack or a tens machine strapped to my back ( bang goes wearing a dress this year) and slopping off for lie downs . can't believe that last Christmas day I went for a 12 mile bike ride in the sleet and snow. It was glorious.

    Sadly my poor daughter is into her second year of ME, so two of us taking rests.

    GPs always have to go with the the party line so its hard to know what the real situation is with regards to a little mixing of drugs.

    We can be; thankful that this is 2014 not 1904 or we' d be taking our opiates straight from the source !

  • I would like to say thank you to all above and I will give them try some for pain relief for Trigeminal neuralgia and Dolerosea. And I can only drink about 3 and a half pints and I am very drunk and unable to walk properly

  • Ask yourself the right questions first.

    Alcohol and medication - overloading the body with toxins - the warnings are there for a reason. Research what may happen if you mix them. Decide if the risk is acceptable. Mostly it's liver and kidney damage. The liver can repair itself to a certain degree, but you don't know what damage has been done already by the meds. Kidneys are not so easy to fix, so research what it's like to live with failing kidneys. It may be increased blood pressure - main result is stroke. There may be increase in the risk of getting epilepsy. And of course death, as your heart may not be able to cope with all the toxins.

    It's not really a case of whether you should or should not drink with meds, it's a case of knowing what might happen if you do, AND taking responsibility for your actions if it does. The warnings are there for a reason. You can choose to follow them, or choose to ignore them, but be prepared for the consequences. If you choose to ignore them, then educate yourself about everything that may happen. Think about how you would feel if you had a stroke on top of all your other health problems, and how you would feel knowing it was a direct result of mixing med and alcohol, knowing it could have been prevented.

    Personally, I don't take meds and I only drink occassionally. My alcohol tolerance is very reduced since having chronic pain so I rarely have more than a glass of wine anyway. It's become a treat, and all the more enjoyable because of it. I take my time to enjoy it, rather than drink for drinkings sake, which would be the case if I had a bottle or so.

    My body is already broken beyond repair. I don't do anything that may break it more. I concentrate on patching it up as best I can, if I live as long as my relatives, I'm only half way through my life, so I am determined to keep as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I know I would enter a very dark place if I did something which worsened my health.

  • [please note, the second half of this statement is the important, and hopefully, humourous offering]

    Having had the '5 year all clear' in the spring, I'm now waiting on a 'very urgent' gynae appointment at hospital.

    I agree with nearly everything written above, but it does occur to me that should life be short, why waste it worrying.

    I think I will allow myself an extra modicum of toxicity for the next two weeks LOL

    Please smile now; each day is a blessing, pain or no.

  • i saw a doctor at harley st in london. He asked me about my social life i told him i didnt have one . he asked why not you can drink on tramadol it just makes the medication work quicker !!

  • Firstly, why is alcohol worse than taking tons of lethal chemical meds several times a day. No studies have been done about whether a vodka or whatever, after brekky, lunch and dinner, followed by a couple of glasses of wine, is worse than the sh-t being prescribed and consumed by many on here, most of whom agree is ineffective on their pain! Sorry, I'm being facetious but there is a serious point. Alcohol does help relieve pain! The remark about paracetamol not working is just not true. The report where this info came out, was about acute pain. There was no info regarding its effect on chronic pain. For me, paracetamol get me by. Two in the morning and if I'm bad, two more later in the day. No other med helps me, they all mess me up one way or another. Tens unit helps sometimes. Stretches sometimes. Two glasses good red wine with my evening meal. Are we human, or are we just pain receptors? Balls to it, I say!

  • Cheers all you cheerful people who want to find a modicum of pleasure in among the pain. Sticking to paracetamol tonight, along with my trusty tens machine, to share a couple of glasses of white wine with my daughter. But thanks everyone for giving my post due consideration .

  • Just a point to consider. If you have arthritis, white wine is quite a bit more acidic than red and can therefore irritate your joint lining.

  • Hello

    A drink seems not to do me any harm and I have discussed this with my old GP and all seems ok.

    Generally I may have a couple of bottles of Perry twice a week and a bottle of brown ale with a dram every so often. With the time of the year a couple of glasses of wine should not do that much harm, as long as you do not binge

    If you are not positive you need to talk with your GP. I have been on Tramadol and sometimes DMARD for many years and I have been ok, So it generally is down to the patient


  • I actually told my doctor I drank wine with my tramadol as it helps with the pain, he had no problem with it.

  • I take Tramadol and to be honest have a drink at the same time with absolutely no side effects.

    You know your body and everybody is different so if you do decide to mix the drink and drugs do it CAREFULLY.

  • I've been drinking alcohol for years with tramadol and morphine and although I'm not condoning it, I am still alive...I think! x

  • Hello

    We all have medical problems, and use strong medications. If you know your limits and do not go mad it should do no harm

    We cannot be a slave to our condition we need to live our lives. I have been on pain medications now for thirty years and I think am still here.

    If in doubt chat to your GP. I feel He should be more than understanding.

    It is Christmas and New Year

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, chink, chink


  • Hello. Am not sure about carbamazapine, because I've never heard of it, but I do know that Tramadol increases the effect of booz. In other words, it makes you get tipsy a lot quicker. I'm on the 200mg SR x2 daily. When I was on the 50mg immediate release tablet, yes I certainly noticed being affected a lot quicker by a glass of wine. I'll still have a glass of wine now and then, but I'll only have a smallish glass.

  • The main thing to take into account is the impact on your liver - if your liver blood tests are absolutely fine, and the meds you take don't have a critical reaction with alcohol, then you might be able to get away with an occasional small glass of wine. But I don't try it because of the lungs problem.

  • Yes we are all different and affected by things in many varied ways. I read that drinking with these kind of meds simply increases the effects of the drug but as previously warned we must be kind to an already overloaded liver. There is a balance to be found I think as our lives are already a bit limited with the pain we live with but I have heard stories and have seen personally how drinking alcohol to either relieve pain, sleep or to simply enjoy can get out of control. My own mother (who was also on various medications) started off by drinking to help her sleep and ended up an alcoholic. This is an extreme example I know but alcohol and how addictive it can become should never be underestimated especially when people who suffer with chronic pain also often suffer with depression. So what I am trying to say is thàt of course it is everyone's personal choice on what and how much to drink and how to live your life when you are in constant pain and feel your life has no positive times - but beware the power of drink as a comfort as it can creep up on you and become yet another problem for you to deal with mentally and physically. I really don't want to sound like the voice of doom but seeing how alcohol can affect people with problems or are on medication first hand I thought that this was maybe a valid point to throw into the equation. Live life and try to be happy by enjoying the odd glass but try to be in control of 'it' instead of 'it' controlling you if you do decide to drink? Take care.

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