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Omeprazole and Alcohol Interactions

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What is Omeprazole?

Omeprazole is a medication that reduces stomach acid. The brand name of omeprazole is Prilosec. It’s available over the counter (OTC) and by prescription (RX).

The medication is also commonly used to treat:

  • Chronic heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

Omeprazole is classified as a proton pump inhibitor or PPI. It’s similar in action to other proton pump inhibitors such as:

  • Rabeprazole (AcipHex) RX
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium) RX and OTC
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid) RX and OTC
  • Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant) RX
  • Pantoprazole (Protonix) RX
  • Zegerid (omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate) RX and OTC
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Effects of Omeprazole

Omeprazole is used to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced by the stomach lining. Side effects from omeprazole are usually mild and include: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Cough
  • Dizziness 
  • Cold symptoms
  • Rash

Tell your doctor about any medications or supplements you’re taking before starting omeprazole. The drug can change or interfere with the way blood thinners and anti-seizure medications work.

Is Omeprazole Addictive?

There is no high or psychological craving produced by omeprazole. However, long-term use of omeprazole can lead to dependence. 

Stopping the medication quickly might cause a rebound increase in stomach acid. This can result in a return of prior symptoms or the emergence of symptoms associated with an overproduction of stomach acid, including:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Stomach pain
  • Acid reflux

These effects occur most frequently when stopping omeprazole after long-term use. 

It’s important to take omeprazole exactly as prescribed or directed by your physician. Long-term use can be associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis-related fractures and diarrheal infections caused by Clostridium difficile

If stopping the medication, healthcare providers may gradually lessen the dose and frequency of omeprazole to help manage the symptoms of withdrawal. 

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Side Effects of Mixing Omeprazole and Alcohol 

Omeprazole and alcohol have no direct drug interactions. However, the choice to drink alcohol may be counterproductive as alcohol increases stomach acid production.

Omeprazole and alcohol share similar side effects such as:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach

Drinking alcohol while taking omeprazole may cause or worsen these symptoms.

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Risks of Omeprazole and Alcohol 

People take omeprazole to stop the stomach from making acid. Alcoholic beverages increase stomach acid production. Drinking alcohol while taking omeprazole may:

  • Increase heartburn frequency and intensity (the counteracting effect of alcohol can intensify underlying heartburn or acid reflux conditions)
  • Liver injury
  • Magnesium deficiency (caused by either omeprazole or alcohol

Can You Overdose From Mixing Omeprazole and Alcohol?

In high doses, omeprazole can induce feelings of confusion, drowsiness, and irritability. Alcohol in excess causes similar effects. 

Consuming alcohol in excess can also worsen the severity of these side effects. 

Talk to your doctor about your alcohol consumption and medication history before taking omeprazole.

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) is available in three primary forms: 

1. Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care is ideal for substance use disorders (SUDs) that require 24/7 professional care and support. 

2. Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient care is ideal for those who don’t want a severe disruption to their home lives.

Outpatient care provides people with the tools and framework to manage their cravings alone and better process emotional stress.

Outpatient treatment for alcohol withdrawal may also require frequent check-ins to ensure medications prescribed for withdrawal symptoms are taken consistently and correctly.

3. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medicine-based care will likely occur in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

MAT can help with symptoms of withdrawal. Medicine-based care can provide the support needed to stop drinking alcohol.

These three treatment options also include therapeutic care to help provide support, coping mechanisms, and tools for managing the situations that lead to alcohol use.

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Updated on March 25, 2022
6 sources cited
  1. Magnesium deficiency: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000315.htm
  2. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. PRILOSEC OTC (Omeprazole) information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/center-drug-evaluation-and-research-cder/prilosec-otc-omeprazole-information.
  3. Highlights of prescribing information PRILOSEC. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2012/019810s096lbl.pdf.
  4. Howden, Colin W, and Peter J Kahrilas. “Editorial: just how "difficult" is it to withdraw PPI treatment?.” The American journal of gastroenterology vol. 105,7 : 1538-40. doi:10.1038/ajg.2010.91, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20606660/
  5. NCBI. “Omeprazole.” LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 Apr. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548771/
  6. CS;, Arora S;Baraona E;Lieber. Alcohol Levels Are Increased in Social Drinkers Receiving Ranitidine. 2000, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10638585/.

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