What Problems Might Result From Drinking Alcohol And Taking Certain Heart Medications?

Question: What problems might result from drinking alcohol and taking certain heart medications?

Answer: Alcohol has an effect on the blood vessels. It dilates the blood vessels so they get bigger. That can reduce blood pressure.

In an individual who's taking a medication that does vasodilate, or does make the blood vessels get bigger -- like medicines for high blood pressure, like some nitrates that are taken for patients who have angina -- taking alcohol with those medicines could cause a dizzy spell or a frank blackout spell.

And it may happen particularly posturally. And by that I mean, when you stand from a sitting position to an upright position, that may produce a light headed spell or a frank blackout.

This is particularly important in individuals who are in a hot tub because the high temperature of the water produces this kind of vasodilatation and can reduce the blood pressure. And that's one of the normal relaxing effects of a hot tub.

But drinking in that situation can produce a potentially very dangerous reduction in blood pressure and could cause a blackout.

Medications like Viagra, which produce vasodilatation should be taken cautiously, if at all, with alcohol because the summating effects of these medications then can produce a dangerously low blood pressure with a dizzy spell or a blackout.

Next: Are There Medications To Help Me Quit Smoking After A Heart Attack?

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