Do you love sipping on a glass of wine or beer after a long day at work, but worry about the potential risks when taking blood thinners? You’re not alone! Millions of people take these medications to prevent blood clots and reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. 

But what happens when you mix alcohol with blood thinners? Is it OK to have a glass of wine with dinner when taking blood thinners? Is it safe to have a drink every now and again, or should you avoid drinking altogether? 

In this week’s blog post, we’ll dive into the facts, myths, and best practices surrounding alcohol consumption while on blood thinners. 

What Are Blood Thinners?

Blood thinners are medications that prevent blood clots from forming. They are also known as anticoagulants. Blood thinners can be used to treat or prevent conditions that involve the formation of blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).

There are generally two ways people take blood thinners: those that are taken by mouth, such as warfarin, and those that are injected, such as heparin. Heparin is also available as an intravenous (IV) infusion. Warfarin is the most common type of oral blood thinner used in the United States.

Even aspirin can be considered a blood thinner. 

There are two main types of blood thinners: anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs. Anticoagulants, such as warfarin (Coumadin), work by preventing your blood from clotting. Antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, prevent platelets (a type of blood cell) from sticking together and forming clots.

Both types of medications can increase the risk of bleeding if you drink alcohol while taking them. Alcohol can also make some side effects of these medications worse. For example, if you have high blood pressure, drinking alcohol while taking an anticoagulant could cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly and make you feel dizzy or lightheaded.

It is important to speak with your healthcare provider before drinking alcohol while taking blood thinners. Alcohol can increase the risk of bleeding when taken with blood thinners. If you drink alcohol while taking blood thinners, it is important to monitor for signs of bleeding, such as easy bruising or bleeding from cuts that take longer than usual to stop.

What Are The Side Effects Of Blood Thinners?

Men wearing winter jacket -

While blood thinners are generally considered safe when taken as directed by a physician, they can have some side effects that you should watch out for. 

The side effects of blood thinners can include:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Most people who take blood thinners do not experience any serious side effects. However, drinking while taking blood thinners can potentially make these side effects worse. It is important to be aware of the potential risks before starting any medication. If you have any concerns, be sure to speak with your doctor.

So, Can You Drink Alcohol On Blood Thinners?

It’s a common question we get asked: can you drink alcohol if you’re on blood thinners? The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. It depends on several factors, including the type of blood thinner you’re taking and your individual medical situation.

In some cases, moderate consumption is OK while taking blood thinners, other times it is not. Generally it’s never a good idea to drink while on blood thinners, but if your doctor says it is ok in moderation you should be fine. 

You should never binge drink while taking blood thinners. This means having many drinks in a short time, more than three. By moderate consumption we mean that while on blood thinners you may be able to have a glass of wine with dinner, not shots after work. 

In any case, if you’re taking a blood thinner, it’s important to check with your doctor before drinking alcohol. This is because alcohol can interact with some types of blood thinners and cause serious side effects.

Get Quality Medical Information And Help With An Alcohol Addiction Now

To summarize, if you are on blood thinners, it is best to avoid consuming alcohol. Drinking can put a lot of strain on your body and potentially interact with the medications you take for your health condition. 

That being said, it is important to always follow your doctor’s advice as they know best what course of action is right for you. With their guidance, you will be able to stay healthy and enjoy all that life has in store while managing any health condition or medication you may need at the same time.

If you’re having trouble stopping drinking, this can be a sign of addiction. If your drinking is affecting your health and you continue to drink while taking medication when you should not— such as blood thinners— this is another major sign of addiction. 

Please, if you think you or someone you love may be addicted to alcohol or other substances, and you think it may be affecting their health, please call us at  (888) 985-2207 and we can talk about treatment options that best manage your health and other conditions. 

Staff Spotlight

Ryan Egan

Content Writer
  • 14 years in the field

Have Questions?
Ask Our Expert Doctors.

Drug, Alcohol & Mental Health Questions Answered by the Doctors at JourneyPure.

What Happens Now?

  • Getting help is as easy as picking up the phone.
  • We will answer all your questions and provide an assessment.
  • We will help arrange for you to come to the program and begin recovery.