Can I Drink Alcohol After Novocaine?

Patient receiving shot of novacain.
Image Credit: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Novocain, which is the brand name for procaine, is a local anesthetic that desensitizes the skin and mucous membranes. It is perhaps most known for its use during dental work to numb pain caused by contact with nerves in the mouth and gums. Today, Novocain is rarely used since other drugs, such as Lidocaine, are safer and less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Drinking alcohol with Novacain in your system is dangerous and can potentially cause breathing problems and other complications.


About Anesthesia

Anesthesia is used during a superficially invasive surgical procedure to eliminate or reduce pain. Strict regulations require that all types of anesthesia must be administered by a specially trained physician. Local anesthesia is used for numbing a specific part of the body for a short period of time while allowing you to be fully alert, making it an appropriate drug for dental work.


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After Anesthesia

Anesthesia can remain in your body for up to 24 hours after administration, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. "During this time, it's possible for substances entering your body to interact with the anesthetic," says the AANA. Drinking alcohol is discouraged for at least one day. This includes beer as well as wine and spirits like vodka, rum and gin. Drinking alcohol with Novocain in your system can interfere with your ability to drive, operate heavy machinery, supervise children and even make important decisions. Possible respiratory problems are a side effect of both drinking and anesthesia. By combining the two, your risk of breathing complications increases.


Medical History

Even though Novocain is seldom used, the effects of drinking while any local anesthetic is in your system are the same. Before administering a local anesthetic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that doctors take a thorough patient history, including drug use experience, since alcohol can react negatively with Novocain. This medication should also not be used along with other illicit drugs.



Alcohol can change how an anesthetic works in your body and can even increase or decrease the amount of medication required. Side effects of Novacain include feeling dizzy or drowsy, anxious or restless, and it cause nausea or vomiting. It can also cause trembling, shaking and convulsions. Alcohol can worsen these symptoms. Before drinking, you should give your body ample time to eliminate anesthetics from your system. If you're a male and regularly consume more than five alcoholic beverages in one sitting or a female who drinks more than four alcoholic beverages, you should tell your doctor prior to a procedure that requires use of a local anesthetic. People who binge drink are at risk for withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop drinking.



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