Alcohol

Having haemophilia means you need to take extra caution when you drink. Alcohol affects platelet function and acts as a blood thinner, but it is unclear if these effects will act directly on your haemophilia.

Alcohol significantly enhances your risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer. So, if you have an underlying health condition affecting the liver, like hepatitis C, you shouldn’t drink alcohol at all. Anyone with an underlying liver condition should contact their Haemophilia Centre for further information.

If you are going to drink alcohol, make sure you do so in moderation. It’s difficult to specify exactly what constitutes moderate or sensible drinking (as it is dependent on age, size, sex, health, speed of consumption and whether or not you drink with food), although the British UK Government drinking guidelines for people over the age of 18, are no more than 4 units for men and 3 units for women in any given day and have at least 2 alcohol-free days a week. This, however, may vary for people with haemophilia. A table detailing how these units are calculated is shown below.

Beverage Typical alcohol
content (%)
Units
(small measure)
Units
(large measure)
Wine 12 1.5 25ml 2.1 175ml
14 1.7 125ml 2.45 175ml

Beer 4 1.1 half-pint 2.2 pint
5 1.4 half-pint 2.8 pint

Spirits 40 1 25ml 2 50ml

Source: www.drinkaware.co.uk

Remember to be responsible when you drink and take some common-sense precautions. It’s a good idea to take Clotting Factor ahead of drinking, in case you drink too much, lose your balance and fall over. Also, before you go out to a bar or party, check that you have your Medic‑Alert bracelet with you, and make sure you’re with someone who knows what to do if you have an accident.

Find out more about alcohol at: nhs.uk

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What happens if I drink too much alcohol?

The short-term effects of drinking too much include impaired judgment, loss of co‑ordination, slurred speech, blurred vision and slowed reaction times, which can make accidents and injuries more likely to happen. More worryingly, too much alcohol may make you less able to help yourself after an accident (i.e. it may make it harder for you to administer your Clotting Factor or even explain your condition to hospital staff).

Drinking too much alcohol over the long-term can lead to high blood pressure and liver damage, which can ultimately affect the production of Clotting Factors and platelets, and increase the severity of bleeding.

Will alcohol affect my other medication?

Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs, from cold and allergy medicines to anxiety pills, seizure medications and painkillers don’t mix well with alcohol. Therefore, it's worth talking to your Haemophilia Centre, before you drink, to see whether the medications you're taking will interact with alcohol.

All information on this page has been taken from the following sources:
(Last accessed on May 2017)

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