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Alcohol Consumption and Risk for Venous Thromboembolism: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies

By June 25, 2020May 18th, 2023Sober living

This is especially true for those who have a family history of heart disease or blood disorders, or who are on any kind of prescription medication, including blood thinners. Because one or more clots block blood flow to the lungs, pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening. However, prompt treatment greatly reduces the risk of death. Taking measures to prevent blood clots in your legs will help protect you against pulmonary embolism.

It depends on a few factors, like how long and how much you drink, your health, and the quality of your diet. Keep reading to learn more about this blood-thinning effect, how alcohol interacts with blood-thinning medications, and more. People who said they drink a lot of liquor also tended to binge drink, which counteracts any helpful effects you might get from alcohol in moderation. Drinking alcohol in moderation is legal for adults in the United States who are at least 21 years old. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), almost 87 percent of people in the US, ages 18 and older, drank alcohol at least once in their lives.

What are blood thinners and how do they work?

Taking both together could compound the anticoagulant effect and increase your risk of bleeding. Medicines such as rivaroxaban, warfarin, and aspirin are often given to patients who are at high risk of heart attack or certain kinds of stroke. The medications help prevent blood clots, which could cause stroke or heart complications. The quick answer to this question is yes, alcohol does act as a blood thinner.

alcohol and blood clots

Aspirin can also increase the risk of internal bleeding when taken with alcohol. Alcohol use should be limited while taking aspirin, particularly in the two hours before or after using it. Alcohol use should be limited while using Savaysa because it increases the risk of internal bleeding.

1. Data source

The net effect is that drinking alcohol increases the risk of bleeding and makes it more difficult for your body to stop bleeding when you experience an injury. Moderate alcohol use is generally blood thinners and alcohol safe while taking most blood thinners. For healthy adults, doctors recommend limiting alcohol intake to a maximum of two drinks a day for males and one drink a day for females.

  • Much like Pradaxa, alcohol also increases the effects of Arixtra.
  • There are several risks related to mixing alcohol and blood thinners.
  • When the body’s ability to clot is reduced internal vessels may begin bleeding inside the body.

Therefore, physicians should carefully estimate the risk of VTE in patients with AI. Another study found that, compared to non-drinkers, people who drank more than 3 ounces of liquor per week had a 53% higher risk of DVT. The relationship between alcohol and deep vein thrombosis may depend on what, and how much, you pour in your glass. A blood clot in a leg vein may cause swelling, pain, warmth and tenderness in the affected area.

Alcohol can also interfere with the activity of certain enzymes involved in blood clotting, such as thrombin.

Further, alcohol can affect how long it takes for your body to process blood thinners. This can cause the medication to stay active for longer and have a greater effect than it should. Alcohol can also cause underlying health problems that affect the liver, which plays a vital role in how blood thinners work and how blood clotting occurs.

Alcohol thins your blood by slowing the normal action of fibrin, a molecule that builds blood clots. For this reason, people who use alcohol may find that they bleed more easily and for longer periods. Bruising may also occur more easily while using alcohol because it thins the blood. First, only prospective cohort studies were included in this meta-analysis, which avoided the selection and recall bias in case–control studies.

Is Alcohol a Blood Thinner?

So, in a sense, alcohol can help to create a healthy balance of good cholesterol versus bad cholesterol, further lowering the odds of a heart attack or stroke. Heavy alcohol consumption can also lead to accidents, mental health issues like depression, risky sexual behaviors, and liver disease. Plavix increases the risk of stomach bleeding when coupled with daily alcohol use. Alcohol use should be limited while on Plavix, and specific cases should be discussed with a doctor. Eliquis is a common blood thinner that does not require routine blood tests like some anticoagulants do.

Can I drink alcohol with blood thinners?

Alcohol may interfere with the action of certain medications, including blood thinners. Doctors recommend that people taking warfarin or drugs containing acetylsalicylic acid limit their intake of alcohol. Occasional, moderate alcohol use should be safe for most people who are taking blood thinners.

Excessive intake of alcohol contributes to numerous disease processes that affect the liver, the heart, the pancreas, and other vital organs and plays a role in the development of heart disease. Drinking alcohol can sometimes be a touchy issue between patients and doctors. But it’s a topic you should talk about with yours when you have deep vein thrombosis.


Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol can help prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of a heart attack, but there are a few risks as well. Alcohol is a substance that can also affect the blood-clotting process. When taken together, alcohol and Xarelto can potentially cause bleeding problems. While drinking alcohol in moderation is unlikely to cause significant harm with Xarelto, you should talk to your doctor about your specific bleeding risks.

What does wine do to blood clots?

Resveratrol in red wine

Resveratrol might help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and prevent blood clots.

Blood clots most often start in the legs and travel up through the right side of the heart and into the lungs. Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with heavy drinking. Studies show that people who are alcohol dependent are two to three times as likely to suffer from major depression or anxiety over their lifetime. When addressing drinking problems, it’s important to also seek treatment for any accompanying medical and mental health issues. While moderate alcohol use can work as a blood thinner, heavy alcohol intake and binge drinking can have very serious consequences. The next time you think about drinking alcohol while taking Xarelto, make sure you’re aware of the potential consequences and side effects.

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