While it may seem harmless, drinking alcohol with certain prescription medications can cause potentially dangerous adverse effects. To help educate the public on the dangers of mixing prescriptions and alcohol, the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) created a campaign, “Don’t Mix,” as part of Talk About Your Medicines Month this October. U.S. Pain Foundation’s Founder and President Paul Gileno, who sits on the Board of Directors of the NCPIE, says he is strongly supportive of the effort.

“Many people don’t realize how risky it is to mix their pain medications with even just one cocktail,” says Gileno. “In some cases, it may make the prescription ineffective, which is bad in itself. But in other cases, it can cause more severe reactions, like impaired breathing or sharp changes in blood pressure. These reactions can be lethal. We want our members to understand the risks and stay safe when taking their medications.”

While pain relievers are one type of prescription that is dangerous in combination with alcohol, more common medications, like cold medicine and sleep aids, are problematic, too. The month-long campaign focused on educating the public with facts like these through social media, using the hashtag #DontMix, as well as a new website, dontmix.org. More information can also be found on NCPIE’s website.

U.S. Pain Foundation is dedicated to improving patient safety for its members. For additional information on the safe use of pain medications, visit painmedicine411.org.