How Much Alcohol Is Recommended?
Alcohol Can Interact With Medications
Patients on methotrexate should completely abstain from alcohol due to the fact that the combination of drinking plus methotrexate increase the risk of developing liver damage. I typically permit my patients to have a drink on a special occasion but to limit it to only a few times per year. In addition, alcohol can elevate the liver function tests in the blood which may affect the dose of medication prescribed.
Patients taking tylenol (acetaminophen) regularly should also be cautious about their alcohol use and I recommend no alcohol in patients taking more than 2500 mg per day. Overuse of alcohol with NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can increase the risk of stomach ulcers.
Alcohol Impacts Other Symptoms
Finally, many patients with arthritis also have fibromyalgia. Drinking alcohol in the evening may adversely affect the quality of sleep, increasing symptoms of fibromyalgia such as fatigue and pain. It is best to avoid drinking later in the day if sleep medications are prescribed due to potential interactions.
Answer provided by Scott J. Zashin, M.D., clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Zashin is also an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of TNF Blockers. The book is a must-have for anyone on one of the biologic drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira) or considering the biologic drugs. Read my review of the book.