One of the most common questions we get from our patients is about Harvoni and alcohol. “Can I drink while taking Harvoni?” “What side effects will alcohol cause while on treatment?” “It is okay if I only have one beer?… Right?”.
Here we will address your questions and concerns about the use of alcohol while you’re being treated.
Harvoni and Alcohol
There are some common things between Harvoni and alcohol, but obviously there are more differences in the two. If you decide to drink during treatment, it could be a terrible idea.
So, the only real similarity in the these two drugs is the fact that both of them must make their way through your liver. The major difference is that Harvoni is trying to stop HCV from wrecking your liver, while alcohol accelerates the process of destruction.
Most of the leading organizations in the Hep C community agree that you should not use any amount of alcohol while taking Harvoni. Most doctors will tell you not to consume any while on any medication.
But what if your doctor says it’s okay to have one beer here and there? Now we always tell you to follow the instructions of your doctor, but drinking is one the we advise against.
Just because your doctor says it will be fine in moderation doesn’t mean you should partake. There were many studies done on Harvoni before it’s release, but they were not targeted to test the safety of mixing it with alcohol.
Harvoni Side Effects With Alcohol
Harvoni does come with an array of side effects, some more common than others. But what about side effects that are only caused when drinking during treatment?
As of now, all we know is that alcohol will increase the side effects of Harvoni that all patients could face. Not only will it make them more intense, but the likelihood of having them goes up as well.
The manufacturer of the drug (Gilead Sciences) has no data and never tested for any other effects that alcohol would cause. So we will provide you with some more information so you can make your own informed decision.
Will Treatment Become Less Effective?
Of course we all know that drinking can cause cirrhosis, just like Hepatitis C can. What most people want to know is if it will hinder the effectiveness of treatment.
As mentioned above, clinical trials were not done with alcohol in mind. So all we can go off of is what we do already know about alcohol.
Alcohol does cause dehydration. While fighting off any type of infection, the amount of water in your body plays a significant role. The more water in your body the better.
Alcohol can take stress off your mind, but it does add stress to the liver. Even if you are not cirrhotic, your liver is a key component in keeping your body healthy. It is a wise choice to reduce as much stress to the liver as possible.
Just like there are certain foods to avoid while taking Harvoni, alcohol is something that would be best to avoid too.
Although some have gotten by with drinking beer or wine while taking DAA’s, it’s something you shouldn’t risk.
Even if you don’t have some dangerous unknown side effect from doing it, you do also risk the chance of the medication not working the way it should.
Harvoni cost alone is a good reason not to take the chance. Not only will you put your health on the line by drinking, but you could also waste your money in doing so.