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Can You Mix Paxlovid With Alcohol?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life for people worldwide. Unprecedented research, work, and Innovation have led to innovative, effective treatments and preventative measures to protect people against life-threatening COVID-19 complications.

One of these innovations is a medication called Paxlovid. Paxlovid is a relatively new medication that can aid in the fight against COVID-19. Like all medications, Paxlovid has potential side effects, and mixing it with other substances and medications can lead to dangerous, sometimes life-threatening complications.

Because so many people in the United States regularly consume alcohol, and the COVID-19 pandemic is still part of our daily lives, it is crucial to understand the risk of mixing Paxlovid and alcohol.

It can be difficult for some people to maintain a healthy relationship with alcohol. Treatment can help people struggling with alcohol misuse and addiction to recover and move forward. Reach out to the Mandala Healing Center to learn more about our holistic alcohol rehab programs or to find support at any stage of your recovery journey.

What is Paxlovid?

Paxlovid is a prescription medication used to treat adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms with risk factors that may increase their likelihood of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.

Paxlovid is most effective if a person takes it immediately after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Paxlovid decreases the severity of symptoms and helps people avoid complications and more severe complications that may result in hospitalization or death.

The Risks of Mixing Paxlovid and Alcohol

Many medications can have dangerous interactions when mixed with alcohol or other substances. Mixing Paxlovid and alcohol may increase the risk of dangerous complications and lower the drug’s ability to protect you from severe COVID-19 symptoms. Doctors and other medical professionals recommend people stop drinking alcohol while taking Paxlovid.

But why is mixing Paxlovid and alcohol so risky? There are several potential risks of drinking alcohol while taking Paxlovid.

Changes in metabolism

Alcohol depresses activity in the central nervous system (CNS),  resulting in effects throughout the body. Changes in metabolism can occur when central nervous system activity is decreased. Any changes in metabolism can alter how your body processes medications and cause unwanted, sometimes dangerous, side effects.


Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it speeds up the rate at which your body eliminates water through sweat and urination. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, which can impair your body’s ability to metabolize medications, including Paxlovid.

Liver damage

Paxlovid and alcohol are both processed by the liver. Taking Paxlovid while drinking can put stress on the liver and could lead to liver damage or failure.

Unwanted side effects

Paxlovid’s side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness

Drinking alcohol may increase the severity of these side effects or make it more difficult for people to manage them. 


Paxlovid is a potent medication, and people must take it exactly as prescribed. Combining Paxlovid and alcohol can increase the risk of dangerous side effects and overdose. 

Recognizing Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

If you or someone you love struggles to stop drinking while taking Paxlovid, it may be a sign that you need professional alcohol addiction treatment. It’s critical to recognize the signs of alcohol abuse or addiction and find the support you need to regain control over your alcohol use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends drinking in moderation or abstaining from alcohol altogether. Moderate drinking is defined as one or fewer alcoholic drinks per day for women and two or fewer alcoholic drinks per day for men. Regularly exceeding these limits is considered alcohol misuse or heavy drinking.

Drinking heavily for a prolonged period can lead to physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. People who develop alcohol addiction cannot stop drinking because their body depends on it to function.

 Signs of alcohol abuse and addiction include:

  • Needing to drink more to get the desired effects
  • Regularly drinking more than you intended
  • Taking risks while drinking, such as driving under the Influence or having risky sex
  • Neglecting your responsibilities at home, work, or school because of alcohol use
  • Isolating or only spending time with others who are drinking heavily
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking or reduce your alcohol intake
  • Facing new legal or financial problems related to your drinking
  • Wanting to stop drinking but finding that you’re unable to

It’s essential to watch for signs of alcohol abuse and addiction and seek treatment as soon as possible. 

When to Seek Help

Some people realize they need help for alcohol abuse or addiction when circumstances force them to reevaluate their drinking habits. For example, if someone is asked to stop drinking while taking a specific medication and it feels difficult, this may be a wake-up call and a sign that they need professional help.

Seeking treatment as early as possible is critical to having a complete, long-lasting recovery. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can begin working toward the healthier, sober lifestyle you choose– not the one alcohol addiction picks for you.

Find Holistic Alcohol Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol misuse or addiction, you are not alone. Effective, comprehensive treatment is available at the Mandala Healing Center. Reach out to our specialist today to learn more about our holistic approach to alcohol abuse treatment or to find support and guidance at any stage of addiction recovery.