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Updated on September 14, 2023
6 min read

Can You Safely Drink Alcohol While on Medrol?

mikko
Elena Borrelli M.S.PAC
Written by 
8 Sources Cited
mikko
Written by 
8 Sources Cited

Combining alcohol and Medrol, an oral corticosteroid medication that reduces inflammation, is a common occurrence. However, an elevated alcohol intake while on these steroids can have more complex consequences.

This blog will discuss whether it's safe to consume alcohol while on Medrol and highlights this combination's potential risks and side effects. It also offers safety guidelines for those who drink while using it and prefer to abstain from alcohol during treatment.

What is Medrol (methylprednisolone)?

Methylprednisolone is a highly effective corticosteroid that combats inflammation throughout the body. However, prolonged usage can affect bone health.1

conditions that medrol treats

This medication treats various ailments, including:1

  • Adrenal problems
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Blood or bone marrow problems
  • Eye or vision problems
  • Flare-ups of multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney problems
  • Lupus
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Lung issues
  • Allergic reactions
  • Other inflammatory issues

Medrol’s dosage depends on the severity of symptoms and the condition being treated. Adults have an average outpatient daily dose of 4 to 60 milligrams (mg). Treatment can last from one to several days, depending on the condition.1

Why is Medrol Prescribed?

Methylprednisolone alleviates swelling, redness, itching, and allergic reactions by targeting the immune system. It's a potent medication that blocks the body's ability to produce substances responsible for these symptoms.

This drug is available in tablet form but only with a doctor's prescription. If you don't take it as directed, it can cause several side effects and adverse reactions.

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Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Medrol?

The U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) doesn't warn against mixing prednisone and alcohol. But due to the similarity between their effects and side effects, it’s best to avoid combining them.

The safety of consuming alcohol while taking prednisone depends on factors such as:

  • Dose
  • Length of treatment
  • Frequency of alcohol use
  • Existing health conditions

Consult your doctor for their professional opinion and to ensure it's safe for you to consume alcohol while on this medication.

What Happens if You Mix Medrol and Alcohol?

risks of mixing medrol and alcohol

While there's no identified direct drug interaction, taking Medrol and alcohol together can heighten the risk of experiencing these reactions:2

  • Adrenal glands suppression
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Dehydration and imbalances in electrolytes
  • Fluctuations in blood sugar levels
  • Stomach and gastrointestinal tract damage, possibly leading to irritation or ulcers
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired healing of wounds
  • Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mood changes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weakening of bones (osteoporosis)
  • Weight gain

A glass or two of alcohol likely won't cause any issues. However, heavy drinking or alcohol abuse while on this drug can increase your risk of severe complications and side effects.

Effects On the Liver

Since the liver processes both substances, chronic alcohol consumption with Medrol can lead to liver toxicity. This combination can increase the risk of liver failure, damage, or disease.3

For those with an existing liver condition, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, taking Medrol and engaging in heavy drinking is especially dangerous. Alcohol can exacerbate existing damage, and corticosteroids can further tax the liver.4

Effects On the Stomach

Methylprednisolone usage can result in various stomach-related discomforts, including:5,6

  • Bloating
  • Bloody or tarry stools
  • Bloody vomit
  • Potential bleeding from stomach sores
  • Stomach pain

Moreover, alcohol's acidic nature can irritate the stomach lining, and a combination of prednisone and alcohol can worsen this issue. Together, they can lead to other gastrointestinal problems, such as:

  • Excessive gas
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ulcers

Effects On Blood Sugar Levels and Blood Pressure

Medrol can disrupt potassium levels and elevate blood pressure. It may also lead to severe cardiac symptoms like rapid, irregular, or forceful heartbeats.

Other possible effects include:5

  • Chest palpitations
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness

Combined with alcohol's diuretic effects, they can also cause dehydration. It increases your risk for a rapid drop in blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia — an abnormally high blood glucose level.7

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How Long Does Medrol Stay in Your System?

The drug’s presence in your body typically lasts between 16.5 and 22 hours. Prednisone has an elimination half-life of approximately 3 to 4 hours, meaning it takes this amount of time for the plasma levels to reduce by 50%.8

To completely eliminate the drug from your system, it typically requires approximately 5.5 half-lives. That's around 16.5 to 22 hours for prednisone, though various factors influence the duration.8


These factors include:8

  • Age and health status. People with poor health and elderly patients may take longer to metabolize prednisone.
  • Body composition. Taller or larger people with a higher body mass index may take longer to eliminate the drug.
  • Dosage strength and amount. Higher doses of prednisone last longer in the body.
  • Metabolism rate. Those with a slower metabolism may take longer to process prednisone.
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What to Avoid While on Medrol

Healthcare professionals highly encourage avoiding the use of certain medications with Medrol. However, there are some cases where you can use two different drugs together, despite the possibility of an interaction.

Your doctor may adjust the dosage or recommend additional precautions in these instances. It’s essential to tell your doctor about all your medications, vitamins, and supplements before taking Medrol.

Here are some of the substances to avoid while on this medication:1

  • Desmopressin
  • Live Rotavirus Vaccine
  • Acemetacin
  • Bupropion
  • Celecoxib
  • Diflunisal
  • Etoricoxib
  • Flurbiprofen
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Ofloxacin

Activities to Avoid

activities to avoid while on medrol

It's important to avoid activities that can be risky while taking Medrol. These may include:1

  • Using birth control or getting pregnant
  • Exposing yourself to stressors or anxiety
  • Drinking alcohol, caffeine, or other stimulants
  • Getting in close contact with people with infections or diseases
  • Receiving immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval

Frequently Discussed Concerns

How Much Alcohol Can I Drink While Taking Medrol?

You shouldn’t mix Medrol and alcohol. Doing so can increase the risk of adverse side effects.

However, practice responsible drinking if you can’t avoid it while on Medrol. Stick to the recommended daily limits, which are no more than one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

Does Alcohol Stop Steroids Like Medrol from Working?

Alcohol doesn't directly interact with prednisone and other steroids. In other words, it doesn't alter the absorption of prednisone or its effectiveness in the body.

However, it can exacerbate certain side effects that prednisone can cause. These side effects listed above can then lead to a decrease in your overall health and well-being.

How Long After a Medrol Dose Can I Drink Alcohol?

While there's no set timeframe to wait before consuming alcohol after taking prednisone, it's best to err on the side of caution. Wait for approximately 48 to 72 hours after taking the last dose of Medrol before consuming alcohol.

Can You Drink Alcohol While On Antibiotics And Steroids Like Medrol?

Mixing alcohol with antibiotics and steroids can increase side effects, including gastrointestinal tract irritation and liver damage. It may also reduce the effectiveness of your antibiotics.

Summary

You should avoid mixing Medrol and alcohol. Doing so can lead to serious side effects, including liver damage, gastrointestinal irritation, and an increased risk of infections.

If you must consume alcohol, practice responsible drinking and keep your intake to one or two daily drinks for men and one for women. Additionally, wait 48 to 72 hours after the last Medrol dose before consuming alcohol.

If you have any questions or concerns about drinking alcohol while taking Medrol, ask your healthcare provider for advice and guidance. They can provide the best course of action tailored to your needs.

Updated on September 14, 2023
8 sources cited
Updated on September 14, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. “Methylprednisolone (Oral Route).” Mayo Clinic, 2023.
  2. Is it OK to drink alcohol with Prednisone?” Drugs.com, 2022.
  3. Puckett et al. “Prednisone.” StatPearls [Internet], 2023.
  4. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Corticosteroids.” LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet], 2021.
  5. Cunha, JP. (Ed.). “Medrol.” RxList, 2023.
  6. Ocejo et al. “Methylprednisolone. ”U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2022.
  7. Steroids and Diabetes: The effect on blood glucose levels.” Medtronic. 2020.
  8. How long does prednisone stay in your system?” Drugs.com, 2022.
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