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Pharmacology/Mixing alcohol with lithium


Our son is bipolar, and has been on different types of medication for many years. He is also an alcoholic. He seems to have finally gotten the right medicine combination. He is taking lithium and valium. That combination, when he doesn't drink is keeping him on the right path. His wife recently divorced him after 22 years. That sent him off the wagon after 5 1/2 years sober. He's in the hospital now for drinking and making threats to his ex-wife. Anyway my question is, is it good to drink, even in moderation, when taking lithium and valium. His new doctor, at the hospital, said that he isn't aware that drink lowers the effectiveness of lithium. After searching the internet and talking to our Walmart pharmacist, I'm convinced he's full of poop! The Walmart pharmacist said that drinking and taking lithium are "totally counterproductive." Please give me your opinion. Out son will be getting out of the hospital this weekend, so a quick answer will be greatly appreciated. An answer from a know "expert" may help to sway him. I will, of course, give him your answer if either yes or no. Either way will ease our mind. Thank you

It never good to drink, even in moderation, when taking lithium or valium. Using lithium or valium together with ethanol can increase nervous system side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. Also,  Lithium can hide the signs of alcohol intoxication. His blood alcohol levels could become dangerously high if he drinks while taking this medicine.


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Dr Mohd Tariq Salman


I can answer questions related to Adverse drug reactions, Rational use of medicines, especially antimicrobial agents, and scientific basis of the use of herbal drugs. I can also provide expert opinion on teaching and learning methods in pharmacology, pharmacology resources available on the internet and research methodology in biomedical sciences including clinical trials, biostatistics and screening of new drugs for pharmacological activity.


Teaching and training of undergraduate medical, dental and pharmacy students, supervision of Pharmacology residents and research in the fields of Herbal drugs, Pharmacovigilance and Drug Utilization studies.

JN Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh India and Era's Lucknow Medical College, Lucknow, India

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, JK Science, Natural Product Radiance,Hippocratic Journal of Unani Medicine,Indian Journal for the Practicing Doctor and Unimed Kulliyat.

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