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Drinking Alcohol With Myasthenia Gravis

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2024

Managing an autoimmune condition like myasthenia gravis (MG) involves careful attention to what you put in your body, including alcohol. Making informed choices about how much you drink may change the course of your condition.1-3

Chronic health conditions and alcohol

There is not a lot of research about the effects of alcohol on MG. But several studies reveal its impact on other chronic health conditions. Drinking can make these conditions worse because it triggers inflammation. Research shows that heavy drinking raises your chances of developing inflammatory conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and allergies.1

However, light to moderate drinking may help reduce the risk, severity, and progression of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus. One reason may be that moderate drinking reduces markers of inflammation such as c-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6.1-3

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A recent study also found that drinking alcohol in small amounts may reduce stem cell factor (SFC) in the blood. Your immune system makes SFC, and high levels of SFC are linked to autoimmune disease. The study notes that people who drink more than 5 grams of alcohol a day had around 7 percent lower levels of SFC than those who did not drink at all.3

While studies on arthritis show that drinking in moderation could lower your chances of developing it, alcohol may worsen arthritis if you already have the condition. People who have MG are more likely to develop arthritis than those who do not.2,4

How much alcohol can I drink with myasthenia gravis?

"Light to moderate" drinking may be fine for those with MG. But this term can mean different things for different people. For example, drinking between 5 and 10 grams of alcohol a day may lower the chance of RA in women. But that equals less than 1 glass of wine or beer a day.2

So, while alcohol may offer benefits in moderation, its impact on MG hinges on your specific health condition and body type.2

Alcohol and medicines for autoimmune conditions

Prescription drugs will likely be part of your MG treatment plan. This means you will need to be careful about mixing alcohol with these medicines to avoid harmful side effects.2,5

Immune-suppressing medicines

If your doctor has prescribed methotrexate, mycophenolate mofetil, or other medicines that suppress your immune system, avoid alcohol. The liver processes these drugs, and they can permanently damage the liver if mixed with alcohol. Eventually, your liver could stop working.2,5


Steroid drugs like prednisone can raise the chance of bleeding in your stomach. Alcohol does the same thing. So, when you drink alcohol while taking a steroid, your risk of stomach bleeding rises even higher.2,5

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any possible side effects from mixing alcohol and your prescription medicines.

Getting help for alcohol use disorder

If you are living with substance use disorder, contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and can connect you with information about treatment.6

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