Drug and Alcohol

Pantoprazole and Alcohol: Is It Safe to Drink if You’re Using Pantoprazole?

What Happens When You Mix Pantoprazole and Alcohol?

What happens when you mix pantoprazole and alcohol? Our blog tells you the ways alcohol and this anti-acid drug affect each other.

Medications like Protonix, Nexium, and Aciphex are powerful acid-suppressing drugs. They are widely used globally.

These Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are some of the most prescribed medications, with more than 80 million prescriptions every year. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and misconceptions about these drugs. Some even drink alcohol while taking such medications, thinking they are safe and harmless drugs.

Many drugs interact harmfully with alcohol.

Pantoprazole and Alcohol: What Is Pantoprazole?

Pantoprazole is an oral medication that belongs to the drug class of proton pump inhibitors. The pantoprazole brand name is Protonix and is sold under this name only. A generic formulation of these oral tablets is available as well.

Generic meds are both the same and effective as the brand meds but are less costly than the latter. However, sometimes generic medication is unavailable in all the strengths or forms as the branded ones.

For convenience, we will interchange these terms, Protonix and Pantoprazole. Pantoprazole generally comes in three different variations, oral tablets, oral liquids, and intravenous formulations for injection. Injectable pantoprazole can only be administered by a healthcare professional. Now let's come to the frequently asked query of what Pantoprazole is used for. Pantoprazole is a proton pump inhibitor drug prescribed to lower the stomach acid in the system or manage esophagus issues.

Mixing Pantoprazole and Alcohol: Is It Safe?

Pantoprazole and other proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) aim to reduce the acid-producing cells in the stomach to treat various stomach-related issues like acid reflux and peptic ulcer disease (PUD).

When a person drinks copious amounts of alcohol, it can lead to various health complications, including gastroesophaegal reflux disease (GERD). The risk of GERD increases in those who already have the symptoms of it. On top of that, alcohol can also damage the esophageal mucosa. Doctors generally ask an individual who already suffers from GERD to refrain from drinking. 

When a person drinks, it increases problems like loss of coordination, blurry vision, and dysphoria. Many people drink moderate levels of alcohol with Pantoprazole. Alcohol doesn’t affect how pantoprazole works. However, pantoprazole and alcohol can make the medication less effective. Alcohol can interfere with the stomach making it more acidic. This can lead to an irritated stomach lining and worsening symptoms of conditions like heartburn and stomach ulcers. 

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Pantoprazole and Alcohol: How Does Pantoprazole Work?

To understand Pantoprazole's working, let's first learn what conditions it can help with. It assists in reducing the severe symptoms produced by conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is when a person suffers from acid reflux or backward acid flow from their stomach. This leads to a problem known as heartburn. Acid reflux can hurt and damage the esophagus. Taking Pantoprazole leads to the prevention of esophagus damage and even healing. 

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome is a health complication in which an individual develops tumors in their pancreas or the small intestines' upper region. The tumors lead to the release of a large amount of hormone known as gastrin. This hormone causes our stomach to produce a large unity of acid which can lead to problems like diarrhea and peptic ulcers. 

Since Pantoprazole is a proton pump inhibitor category of drug, it works by switching the acid-pumping cells. It shuts down these acid-producing cells in our stomach, which reduces stomach acid. This is how it lowers the highly painful symptoms associated with GERD.

Apart from that, GERD can also lead to damaging effects on the esophagus in an individual. In adults, GERD leads to erosive esophagitis, which Pantoprazole helps with. It is a prescription medication, so it can only be obtained with the help of a prescription written by a qualified healthcare professional. It is a powerful drug that can produce short-term and long-term side effects. Let's discuss them in the below section. 

Pantoprazole and Alcohol: What Are Pantoprazole Side Effects?

It is quite common for medications to produce unwanted and sometimes unpredictable side effects. Similarly, pantoprazole oral tablets can also cause mild to severe side effects. We have tried to compile the commonly experienced side effects, but it does not include everything. This is because side effects also depend on factors such as the user's age, health condition, and other medication they take. 

Mild side effects of Pantoprazole can include problems like diarrhea, headache, belly pain, dizziness, gas or flatulence, nausea, joint pain, vomiting, constipation, bloating, and weight gain. In most cases, these mild effects will wear away in a few days, but if they don't, contact your doctor immediately.  

Serious side effects of Pantoprazole are not common, but it can happen. It can include inflammation of kidneys or acute nephritis, low level of vitamin B12 or magnesium, full body inflammation or lupus, polyps or extra growth in the upper region of the stomach, broken bones, stomach cancer, severe diarrhea because of Clostridium difficile, skin reaction such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) or drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS).

Since they are severe, call your doctor immediately or visit them as quickly as possible. If both options are unviable, call 911 emergency medical services. 

It is rare, but some people may get an allergic reaction to Pantoprazole. The mild allergic reaction would include flushing, rash, and itching, while the severe reaction can cause swelling under your skin. For instance, eyelids, lips, hands, feet, tongue, mouth, or throat.

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How Long Does Pantoprazole Take to Work?

Pantoprazole is generally prescribed once daily, usually in the morning. When taken, this PIP will work within two and a half hours. This is the minimum time Pantoprazole takes to block the acid secretion in the stomach. Pantoprazole lasts about 24 hours or a full day

An important thing to note is Pantoprazole is not a fast-acting medication. It will not provide immediate relief from conditions like acid reflux, indigestion, or dyspepsia symptoms. It does not work similarly to antacids like Maalox or Tums or treat current symptoms. 

A user will feel better only after two to three days of taking its regular dose. It can take as long as four weeks to work properly and have full control over your symptoms. It does not mean that the symptoms will disappear. They will be managed and reduced slowly; you can still have them during the 4 weeks. If you see no improvement after 2 weeks of use, talk to your doctor and explain everything. 

Pantoprazole and Alcohol: Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

The combination of alcohol with any medication indicates the compulsion to alcohol. It's vital to address it in case you are dealing with it. AUD or alcohol addiction can be defined as a problematic drinking pattern where a person cannot control their alcohol intake. Even when they know the negative consequences, they continue to partake.

Alcoholism also leads to increased drinking since the body gets accustomed to the amount and becomes tolerant. So it is essential to seek treatment and benefit from it. The treatment of AUD includes medicines and behavioral therapies. This combination will give the best results. Some people also suffer from mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. This combination, known as a dual diagnosis, needs treatment as well.

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Pantoprazole and Alcohol: Medication and Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

For AUD treatment, there are three medicines approved, namely disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.

  • Disulfiram is a medication that will generate nausea and flushing of the skin whenever someone drinks alcohol. It helps in breaking the abuse pattern.

  • Naltrexone works by blocking the receptors in our brain that generate a desirable feeling after drinking alcohol. It helps in reducing the craving for alcohol.

  • Acamprosate also works by decreasing cravings and reducing alcohol intake. This mainly works for people who have recently quit drinking.

There is no need to worry about them being addictive as they are not habit-forming drugs. Indeed, they are not a cure, but their combination will help reduce and manage AUD. 

Behavioral Therapies for Alcohol Use Disorder

Behavioral counseling or alcohol counseling consists of a therapist identifying the pattern and helping by replacing it with good habits. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a therapy in which the reason for alcoholism is identified. The triggers and patterns of abuse are recognized. The therapy helps the patient learn how to cope with them and manage the stress of it.

As the name suggests, motivational enhancement therapy motivates a person to change their behavior. A pro and con list is formulated for the treatment. A plan is built on instilling confidence in the patient to keep them motivated throughout treatment. There are couple and family therapies available to resolve personal issues and aid in stopping alcoholism. 

The combination of these treatments can be beneficial for AUD. But it's not a cure-all remedy. Overcoming addiction is not a linear journey. There are a lot of ups and downs attached to the recovery journey. A great many people relapse and get back to drinking. But this does not mean that a person who relapsed cannot recover. In fact, it indicates a dire need for help, and that too immediately. 

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Talking Someone Into Getting Help

Reaching out for help may not seem like a big thing to someone who has not faced a debilitating condition like addiction. For someone suffering from alcohol or substance use disorder, seeking and asking for help is not easy. A tremendous amount of pressure, guilt, shame, and embarrassment is attached to it. Such individuals have a tendency to isolate themselves from others.

This is due to the secrecy of their condition or to cover themselves from the questioning glances. If you suspect someone close to you might be dealing with these issues alone and needs help, reach out. Ask them and do not confront them. Listen to what they have to say and understand where their fears are coming from.

Assure them and allow them to make the decision of whether they want to seek medical attention or not. If they are uncomfortable with the idea, tell them to visit a therapist or an addiction expert. They will be able to explain and prepare for addiction treatment.

Pantoprazole and Alcohol: Is Alcohol Use Taking Over Your Life? Talk to The Edge Treatment Center

If you find that your drinking is interfering with medications like pantoprazole, you might want to examine your relationship with alcohol. Alcohol use disorder can be very subtle, and it’s not easy to realize you (or a loved one) have a problem until alcohol destroys all of it.

Guided by a trauma-influenced philosophy, The Edge Treatment Center combines evidence-based treatment with cutting-edge medicine to help people take their lives back from alcohol. We’ll help you build the tools, coping mechanisms, and resources to live a life free from alcohol abuse.

Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more about our effective alcohol addiction program.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

October 22, 2023