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Alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs

If you drink alcohol, smoke, take recreational drugs or have any questions or concerns about these issues you can discuss this with us in confidence at any time.


Whether you drink or not is a personal choice, but we advise respect for the law and moderation. The recommendation is a maximum of 14 units per week. A unit is half a pint of beer; one small alcopop; one small glass of normal strength wine (11 percent).

Binge drinking can be harmful, especially if you are taking methotrexate or other regular medication so ideally spread your units over 2-3 days.

For further information and advice on alcohol see:

Talk to Frank or Drinkaware


This is bad for your general health. In rheumatoid arthritis (an inflammatory arthritis in adults) it has been shown to make inflammation worse and reduce the effectiveness of treatments.

For more information and support to stop smoking visit NHS Stop Smoking

Recreational Drugs

Some recreational drugs make inflammation worse or may interact with your prescribed medication. Many of these drugs have a lasting effect on the brain and personality and in some cases can be fatal. This includes ‘legal highs’ which are not necessarily safe as their name might suggest and may contain illegal substances.

If you are taking any recreational drugs or have any questions about them, you can discuss with us in confidence at any time.

There are some good websites to help answer your questions on drugs and offer more support including Talk to Frank and Turning Point.