Pantoprazole and Alcohol Interactions

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What is Pantoprazole?

Pantoprazole belongs to a group of medications called proton-pump inhibitors (PPI). Its common brand name is Protonix®.

Other PPIs include:

Unlike antacids, which help neutralize the stomach’s acid, pantoprazole lowers the amount of acid in the gastrointestinal region.

The drug reduces gastric acidity to treat medical conditions, such as:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Those with GERD experience a backward acid flow from the stomach. This results in heartburn.

Acid reflux may damage the esophagus. Using pantoprazole helps the esophagus heal and prevents more damage to the area. 

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

People develop this condition when tumors appear in the pancreas or upper area of the small intestine. These tumors release the hormone gastrin in large quantities.

This release causes the stomach to make too much acid. Possible problems due to this excess acid include peptic ulcers, diarrhea, and more. 

Pantoprazole is available only under prescription. The drug is strong and can provide both short and long-term side effects.

A healthcare provider may not prescribe pantoprazole to treat mild, short-term heartburn.

Instead, they may offer prescription or OTC antacid medication or H2 blockers. H2 blockers are another type of medication for excess acid.

Pantoprazole takes more time to work on acid secretion. 

What are The Side Effects of Pantoprazole?

Short-Term Effects

Those who take pantoprazole may experience the following side effects:1

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating or gas
  • Pain in the joints
  • Diarrhea 
  • Dizziness 

Long-Term Effects

A healthcare professional may prescribe pantoprazole for short-term use because of the potential long-term side effects. It's always best to speak with a medical provider to determine if pantoprazole can be continued. 

The following list describes some of the side effects, which people may experience over time:

Fractures

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) determined that the risk of fractures due to PPI use was valid.5

Low stomach acid levels may lessen calcium absorption in the small intestine. This could contribute to osteoporosis and a higher risk of breaking bones, especially the hip bone. 

Pneumonia

According to some studies, those who took PPIs were more likely to develop pneumonia than those who didn't.6

PPIs reduce stomach acid, making the stomach environment more hospitable for bacteria. As such, more bacteria may be present and can travel up the esophagus.

The bacteria could be inhaled into the respiratory system. Bacteria in the lungs could cause pneumonia. 

Iron and B12 deficiency

Stomach acid helps draw iron and vitamin B12 from food for easier absorption.

Lower stomach acid levels caused by PPIs could mildly affect absorption. This could lead to a possible deficiency of both the mineral and vitamin.

C. difficile infection

C. difficile refers to Clostridium difficile. This is a type of bacteria that affects the large intestine. It can cause diarrhea or more severe health problems.

There's no direct cause and effect between PPIs and this type of infection. However, some evidence suggests that PPIs could alter gut conditions that encourage the growth of C. difficile bacteria.7 

People should speak to their specialists about eating cranberries while taking this medication. There may be an increased risk of experiencing some side effects. 

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Is Pantoprazole Addictive? 

Long-term use of pantoprazole can lead to dependence. This means that if someone has taken the drug for a long time, it's not recommendable to quit the drug suddenly.

Quitting 'cold turkey' may cause the stomach to produce much more acid and invite the return of symptoms. 

However, you can stop taking the drug in most short-term cases without cutting back on the dose first.

Can You Drink Alcohol With Pantoprazole?

People can drink alcohol moderately with pantoprazole. It doesn't interfere with the drug.

Nevertheless, it's essential to remember that alcohol can cause the stomach to make more acid than usual. This acid production can irritate the stomach lining and worsen symptoms, like drowsiness.

Additionally, if someone misuses alcohol, the risks of interactions between pantoprazole and the beverage increase. 

It's best to seek medical advice to determine if alcohol consumption could affect how effective the drug is or whether it presents health risks. 

Risks of Mixing Pantoprazole and Alcohol

Alcohol use, especially if abused over long periods, can cause different symptoms. 

For example, people may suffer from:

  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Liver injury or scarring
  • Dehydration 

Additionally, pantoprazole causes possible side effects and medical conditions, such as:

  • Liver disease
  • Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood)
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Diarrhea   

Consuming alcohol in excess worsens the severity of serious side effects associated with pantoprazole. The risk of overdose and death increases, too.    

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Treatment for Pantoprazole and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

There are many therapy options available for pantoprazole and alcohol use disorder.

For example:

  • Supervised detoxification or withdrawal process
  • Rehab and support groups 
  • Medical therapy
  • Counseling 
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

MAT helps lower alcohol use among people with an alcohol use disorder. It can provide the support needed for someone to avoid drinking alcohol.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions can also give people the coping skills to help confront triggers or situations that may lead to alcohol consumption. 

While recovery can be difficult, it isn't impossible. People can lead a more fulfilled, balanced life with the proper support and care.

Updated on December 14, 2021
7 sources cited
  1. “Pantoprazole (Oral Route) Side Effects.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 Jan. 2021
  2. “Pantoprazole.” NHS Choices, NHS
  3. “Pantoprazole: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 July 2020
  4. “Proton-Pump Inhibitors.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health Publishing, Apr. 2011
  5. FDA Drug Safety Communication: Possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with the use of proton pump inhibitors, U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), 2o17
  6. Lin, Wen-Ling et al. “Association of Increased Risk of Pneumonia and Using Proton Pump Inhibitors in Patients With Type II Diabetes Mellitus.” Dose-response : a publication of International Hormesis Society vol. 17,2 1559325819843383. 2 May. 2019
  7. Bauer SR, O’Malley P. Withholding Proton Pump Inhibitors to Prevent Recurrent Clostridium difficile: Time for a Randomized Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177:791.

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