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Drinking and MS
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Drinking and MS

Can you drink alcohol if you have MS?
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16 Comments Post a Comment
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1532707_tn?1312159524
I  say yes. I've heard that the effect is sometimes worse as far as acting inebriated. I can tell too. For me one feels like two, two can feel like 3-4. Unless I'm an alcoholic or something and one feels like 4-5 and I cant tell, no one I've been with has been like "woah, your messed up." I don't drink too often though maybe a drink or two when I go out to dinner. about once a week.

I haven't heard too much about not drinking with MS, but I haven't really been looking either. We have a MS after hours group here that meets once a month and we all have a drink or two, some have more.
Negative- alcohol is a depressant
Positive- in moderation, alcohol has some stress relieving properties.
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987762_tn?1331031553
Its not that you cant drink because of the MS, more to do with small amounts can affect you more easily and make you look drunker than you actually are, it doesn't happen to all MSers though.

The other thing is some of the medications stipulate no alchohol, because of the way they interact but that depends on the medications your on.

Cheers........JJ
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1045086_tn?1332130022
It's pretty much established that one glass of red wine a day can be beneficial to general good health.  Other than that, although alcohol consumption may not be specifically prohibited for people with MS, it isn't the healthiest thing we could do for ourselves either.

>>>>>>>>>>   More important to consider is the multitude of different medications we take to manage our symptoms.  QUITE A FEW DRUGS USED IN THE ROUTINE TREATMENT OF MS SHOULD NOT BE COMBINED WITH ALCOHOL in any amount (and some of those same meds shouldn't have doses skipped or replaced by alcohol).  <<<<<<<<<<<<

I know we are in the middle of a fun-filled three day holiday weekend.  I assume that is one reason this question came up now.  Personally, I don't drink these days because I try not to add to the confusion and odd sensations my nervous system already deals with.  

It's another one of those things that is unfair about living with a chronic disease (ANY chronic disease) and some people will make a different choice for themselves on special occasions and perhaps even routinely.  Just be sure to remember your entire circumstance when you consider what is right for you.

And remember .....  Sometimes, things that relieve the tension of the moment end up adding to the tension of the future.

Mary
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1045086_tn?1332130022
                                                                      respiratory effort
(Medications + MS fatigue)  X  alcohol  =  ------------------------  + time  =  breathing stops!!
                                                                         deep sleep
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1045086_tn?1332130022


(MEDICATION + FATIGUE)  X  ALCOHOL leads to DECREASED RESPIRATORY EFFORT accentuated by SLOW, SHALLOW BREATHS OF DEEP SLEEP = INADEQUATE OXYGEN LEVELS IN LUNGS, BLOOD AND BRAIN >>>  death.


You get the idea (I hope).
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1453990_tn?1329235026
Twopack may be a bit over the top on this.  There are some common medications that should not be mixed with alcohol.  Tegretol, Lyrica and Gabapentin (most of the anti-seizure medications) should not be combined with alcohol.  They potentate the effects of the alcohol.  

It is true that alcohol decreases respiratory drive and potentating  this effect is not a "good thing," but narcotics (even in small doses) are more potent respiratory depressants.  

I guess the question more "Should I drink?"  The answer is probably "No."   If the question is "Can I drink with MS?" the answer is more like: "Yes, but it may exacerbate balance issues and could interact with your medications."

Bob
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1382889_tn?1404599226
I am normally a very light drinker. For about 6 months after my MS dx I didn't drink at all.  Now, I sometimes have some wine and maybe a glass of beer.

I have found that the alcohol effects me almost immediately and profoundly. It is like one beer in my system makes me react like I have had 3-4. It's crazy!!  Not only do my thoughts get completely lost but I get so rubbery (all over) and tired that within 15 minutes of consuming it, I have to go to bed.

While I don't think drinking per se in moderate amounts is necessarily bad for people with MS, I personally am choosing more and more to abstain. It's just not worth it.

Julie
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Avatar_f_tn
I wasn't planning on drinking this weekend or anything and I rarely drink and don't have a lot of opportunities to drink anyway. I'm pretty busy between work and taking care of my son and trying to get enough sleep, but sometimes I think a margarita, or some other sort of summer cocktail sounds really tasty and I wouldn't mind treating myself to one if the opportunity presented itself. I just wasn't sure if it was safe or not. The only thing I am really on that is MS related is Provigil and Avanex.
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198419_tn?1360245956
Twopack Mary is spot on, Oji.
I can say I've definitely felt what she describes especially where the fatigue is concerned. Her warning is something not only MSers should heed.

I still push my boundries though and have drinks especially in the summer. For me, sometimes my tolerance is high, and sometimes not.  What I do now mostly when I have some, is to make sure I don't go to bed right after drinking. I space beer out with water. But, man oh man what it does to the bladder is a whole nother convo, lol

MMM the margarita does sound good. I say if your gonna try - have it earlyAnd, do so on those "perkier" than not, days.
-Shell :)
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382218_tn?1341185087
I usually have one glass of red wine with dinner.  Recently I've noticed more than two glasses induces my diplopia, and it's exhausting as I have to concentrate to keep my eyes focused.  Other than that it doesn't bother me, doesn't seem to make the effects of my medications any worse.  
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382218_tn?1341185087
Those on interferon DMDs need to keep an eye on their liver enzymes. Alcohol can also elevate liver enzymes.  This can be monitored via routine labwork.
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198419_tn?1360245956
Good word here, DB. I have not taken that into consideration, and I'm going to now because of your reminder.
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721523_tn?1331585402
My husband actually asked my MS Dr.  He said that in moderation was fine.  We don't drink much anyway, and when we do it is almost always at home in the evening.  When I do have a glass of wine, I take nothing but my Gilenya that evening.  

I never had a drink until I was 22, and have had the t-totler pregnancies.  Giving it up completely is really not a problem.
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1453990_tn?1329235026
I guess the point is that MS may not create a problem, but the medications may.  When I;m having balance issues, I stay away from alcohol, antihistamines, ... anything that makes it worse.  When I'm taking Baclofen and Tegretol, I can nurse a beer.  Most of the time, I don't even do that.  Truth be told, MMJ (legal in this state and OK'ed by my Neuro) seems to calm the spasticity and is more relaxing than a drink.  

I guess MS as a disease doesn't limit drinking, but lesion location and medications might.  I guess I would add, that if you have "black holes" or other evidence of brain atrophy, I think I'd be careful with alcohol consumption, since even moderate amounts of alcohol consumption, can cause (or accelerate) brain atrophy.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked To Brain Shrinkage:   http://www.jhsph.edu/publichealthnews/press_releases/PR_2003/brain_shrinkage.html

Bob
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1637739_tn?1371692306
I think that the occassional drink is fine.  My neuro said moderation was fine too.  For me, beer makes my symptoms worse than if I have a mixed drink which I am not sure why.  I think it depends on each persons symptoms and how they react to alchol too.  It's a personal decision - just don't get carried away!  

Anyhow, I am not going to let MS take everything from me.   So if I am feeling good and want to have a couple drinks with friends, I going to.  Right now, I only take Copaxone and Gabapentin.  I will of couse be careful in the future if taking other meds.  
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1713150_tn?1314470942
Gilenya!  How is that working out for you?  It was a choice for me, but I'm starting the Rebif today.  Just for future references, is it working well?  AAny eye problems?

Thanks, Kelli
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