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Taking statin, beta blocker & plavix for heart blockage treatment, stent placed in heart, blood work ok. Will taking beers damage liver?

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Cardiologist, Interventional
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 192 Questions
I am taking a stain (livalo), a beta blocker (toprol), and plavix. I'm taking these drugs because at 33 (8 months back) I had a stent placed in my heart due to a blockage. My blood work at 12 weeks was perfect. Recently I started drinking 1-4 beers a week. Is that ok? I exercise, and I'm not overweight. I'm a vegan now, going on 7 months. I'm worried if 2-4 beers a week is going to damage my liver?
Posted Sun, 15 Apr 2012 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Answered by Dr. Raja Sekhar Varma 6 hours later
Thank you for your query.

I understand that you are a 33 year old male, diagnosed as having coronary artery disease, treated with angioplasty and stenting and currently on a beta blocker, statin and clopidogrel.

Both the statin (livalo) and the beta blocker (toprol) undergo metabolism in the liver. Intake of alcohol can potentially lead to liver damage. Also, alcohol intake can have undesirable effects on the lining of the stomach, duodenum and intestines, can lead to alcohol-related liver injury, worsen the triglycerides levels in the blood, can potentially cause alchoholic cardiomyopathy, in addition to dangers of addiction, binge drinking and other social issues.

The alcohol content of beer is usually in the range of 3-4% by volume. 12 ounces of regular beer is considered as one standard unit. One unit per day, 7 per week is permissible in males without any other problems, as per guidelines.

In your case, however, in view of the drugs you are taking and since you already have heart disease, I would advise you to be even more prudent. Also, it will be better for you to check your liver function tests (blood tests) at baseline and at regular intervals (once in 3 months or so).

Since there is a stent implanted, I think that, in addition to the drugs that you have listed, you should also be on low dose aspirin (75 -150mg/day).

I hope this clarifies your query. Feel free to contact me for any further specific answers.
With regards,
Dr RS Varma
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