Alcohol does not mix well with most medications, even with many over-the-counter medications like Zantac. Zantac is the brand name of the drug ranitidine, an antihistamine that is used to reduce the symptoms of reflux.

Many people who use Zantac and alcohol wonder if it’s safe and whether side effects will occur. There is not a large amount of information about the impact of mixing Zantac and alcohol, but there is some research that discusses the safety of combining these substances.

Side Effects of Mixing Zantac and Alcohol

The main side effect that has been found to occur when alcohol and Zantac are mixed is that Zantac increases the effects of alcohol.

Zantac Interferes With Alcohol Processing in the Body

Alcohol is absorbed through your intestines and passes through the liver into the blood. Before the alcohol reaches the blood, it must pass through the liver. As it passes through the liver, a significant portion of the alcohol is changed by the liver so that it is not alcohol when it enters the bloodstream. Practically, this means that when someone takes a drink of alcohol, only a portion of it reaches the blood and causes intoxication.

When someone drinks alcohol and takes Zantac at the same time:

  • Zantac alters how the liver processes alcohol and causes the amount of alcohol that enters the bloodstream to be much higher than it would be normally
  • The amount of alcohol in their system will be higher than normal
  • It will be much easier to get drunk on a small amount of alcohol
  • It will take a significantly lower amount of alcohol than usual to become too drunk to drive or to cause toxic levels of alcohol
  • Zantac makes it much easier to overdose on alcohol

Besides increasing the amount of alcohol that enters the system, the only other reported side effect of mixing Zantac and alcohol is that it will raise the heart rate. A high heart rate could be dangerous if someone is prone to passing out or has an underlying heart condition.

Key Points: Zantac and Alcohol

Ultimately, it is best not to mix Zantac and alcohol. It is possible for most people to take Zantac with small amounts of alcohol safely, but it could be dangerous.

The dangers of mixing Zantac and alcohol include:

  • Increased effect of alcohol
  • Higher blood alcohol levels from the same amount of alcohol
  • Increased chance of overdosing on alcohol
  • Increased heart rate

If you are taking Zantac and drinking alcohol, consult with your physician before continuing to do so. Your physician can determine if it is safe for you based on your alcohol intake and frequency, and based on the amount of Zantac that you use.

If you or a loved one are struggling with chronic alcohol abuse that continues even when it may cause an increased risk of harm, consider seeking help from an addiction specialist. The caring staff of The Recovery Village has the resources and knowledge to help you start on the path to recovery. Reach out to our expert team today to learn what treatment options are available. “Ranitidine (Rx, OTC).” 2019. Accessed April 4, 2019

Arora, Sunil; Baraona, Enrique; & Lieber, Charles S. “Alcohol levels are increased in social drinkers receiving ranitidine.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Feb 2000. Accessed April 4, 2019.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Harmful Interactions.” 2014. Accessed April 2, 2019. 

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