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Anesthesia

Alcohol after twilight anesthesia

10/25/2007

Question:

Is it dangerous to drink alcohol the same day I had twilight anesthesia?

Answer:

The standard advice is not to drink alcohol or take any other intoxicants for 24 hours after your anesthesia.

Alcohol and other intoxicants can interact with anesthesia drugs to increase the effect of one or the other or both.

If you've just had anesthesia, the effect of a drink of alcohol is likely to be greater than it would have been under normal circumstances. In other words you are more likely to become intoxicated. People who are intoxicated get into harm's way through impairment of judgment of normal motor function (movement) and other mental faculties. Extreme intoxication can affect breathing and even cause unconsciousness.

Any medical facility that sent you home without the standard advice to avoid alcohol would be running a risk (medico-legal) for themselves and for you (health). The degree of impairment, and the resultant danger to you will depend on the amount of alcohol you have drunk, your individual susceptibility to the effects of alcohol, the amount of anesthesia you had, your individual susceptibility to its effects, the time that has elapsed since your anesthesia, and the effect of other medications you may be taking. There are many unpredictable factors involved here so perhaps you can understand why the standard advice is given.

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Response by:

Gareth S Kantor, MD Gareth S Kantor, MD
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University