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Alcohol

Young people enjoying a drink as they socialiseAlcohol can be a big part of social life.

Choosing not to drink alcohol because of your condition and your medication is a sensible decision. It may also be the safest thing to do. But if you’re going to drink alcohol, it’s always best to know your limits and to be sensible. Take it easy and listen to your body.

Your tolerance to alcohol

Everyone responds differently to alcohol. This can be due to many factors, including height, weight, gender and how much sleep you've had recently.

Your tolerance will usually be lower if you haven’t eaten, because the alcohol will go into your bloodstream quicker. Food in your stomach will absorb some of the alcohol.

Arthritis medications such as steroids and methotrexate can also lower your tolerance of alcohol. Your tolerance could be much lower than your peers.

Alcohol and medication

If you’re on medication such as methotrexate and steroids, drinking too much alcohol places more pressure on your liver, and could increase your risk of developing long-term liver problems.

If drinking alcohol on your medication makes you feel ill, it’s probably best to avoid it completely. Stay well within safe limits by making sure you have at least 3-4 alcohol-free days every week. If you do drink, stick to just one or two.

Binge drinking

It’s advisable not to binge drink, which means drinking lots of alcohol in one go.

Government guidelines state that men shouldn’t drink more than 21 units of alcohol per week and women shouldn’t drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. Here's a rough guide to units:

Drink Units
Standard glass of wine (175 ml)
2.1 units
Large glass of wine (250 ml)
3 units
Pint of higher-strength lager, beer or cider (ABV 5.2%)
3 units

    Alcohol and other people

    Recent findings from the Office for National Statistics have shown that the number of young adults drinking alcohol, and also the amount being drunk, has fallen in the past two years.

    If your friends are pressuring you to drink after you've told them about your arthritis and your medication, they aren’t being very good friends.

    If you have any concerns on this subject, talk to your rheumatology consultantnurse specialist or a GP for advice. 

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