Saturday, June 15, 2024

Can You Drink Wine While Taking Antibiotics

Antibiotics Known To Cause Interactions

can you drink alcohol while on antibiotics?

Whether or not you can drink alcohol while taking antibiotics mostly depends on the antibiotic being used. NHS Choices advises that, with some common antibiotics, drinking alcohol in moderation is not likely to cause significant issues.

(Moderation means staying within the lower risk limits as specified by Public Health England. In short:

  • men and women should consume no more than 14 units of alcohol per week


  • if someone does drink 14 units in a week, they should spread this out over at least three days
  • and have several alcohol free days each week)

However, as they point out, and as well discuss here, there are certain antibiotics which are known to interact with alcohol, and mixing alcohol with these can pose a risk of serious side effects.

For example, if youre taking:

  • Metronidazole, or
  • Tinidazole

you should avoid drinking any alcohol at all.

Metronidazole and Tinidazole are used to treat some types of vaginal infections , dental infections, and some infected ulcers. Tinidazole is also sometimes used in the treatment of gut conditions caused by a type of bacteria called H. pylori. Therefore you should not drink alcohol while taking antibiotics for H. pylori.

When taking these antibiotics, you should also refrain from using any cough medicines or mouthwash products which also contain alcohol.


Mixing alcohol with these particular medications can cause severe and potentially harmful reactions, which may be characterised by:

These include:

The Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol And Antibiotics

Both alcohol and antibiotics have individual sets of side effects that impact an individuals behavior and mental state. Because of this, the two should never be mixed together. A handful of antibiotics can cause violent physical reactions when combined with alcohol. These include Metronidazole and Linezolid, which are commonly prescribed to treat intestinal tract and skin infections, and the sulfonamide medications of Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim, which are used to treat everything from urinary tract infections to pneumonia to ear infections.

Consuming alcohol while taking these drugs can result in severe fatigue, a throbbing headache, dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, and heart palpitations. Alcohol can also worsen digestive side effects and turn into blood or mucus in stool, severe diarrhea, intense stomach cramping or pain, fever, uncontrollable vomiting. Mixing alcohol with certain antibiotics can also damage vital organs, including the liver. The kidneys are responsible for removing toxins, including medications, from the blood and body through urine. Antibiotics can overburden and damage kidneys and alcohol exacerbates this.

Risks Of Mixing Azithromycin And Alcohol

While there are typically no severe side effects from mixing alcohol and azithromycin, there are still risks involved with combining these substances. Both substances can cause diarrhea, and the resulting water loss and electrolyte imbalance in the body can be harmful to your health.

Additionally, both substances can cause vomiting, leading to a tricky situation if a person vomits soon after taking the medication. If this happens, you should call a doctor to assess whether this would count as a missed dose, and you would need to take another one.

There are other risks as well, including:

  • Not allowing your body to properly heal by subjecting it to the effects of alcohol
  • Missing doses due to becoming intoxicated and forgetting, and potentially failing to finish the full course of treatment
  • Making the treatment less effective

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Which Antibiotics Can You Not Drink Alcohol With

There are specific antibiotics that have a direct interaction with the alcohol metabolism pathway, he says. And those are the ones that pose the biggest risk of having a direct negative impact with co-administration with alcohol.

The drugs in question? Flagyl , Tindamax , Bactrim and Zyvox are the main offenders. Youll need to avoid alcohol and products containing alcohol while you take these medications, plus for several days after when taking metronidazole or tinidazole.

Be sure to check labels for hidden sources of alcohol mouthwashes or cough medicines may contain alcohol. Your pharmacist is a great resource if you need help!

What Side Effects Occur When You Combine Alcohol With Antibiotics

What can happen if you drink alcohol while taking ...

One of the most common alcohol and antibiotic interactions is with the antimicrobial agent metronidazole . Metronidazole is used for a variety of infections, including stomach or intestine, skin, joint and lung infections. Taking metronidazole with alcohol may result in a reaction called a disulfiram-like reaction.

Symptoms of a disulfiram-like reaction may include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing

A similar reaction may occur with other antibiotics like cefotetan , a cephalosporin antibiotic and tinidazole , which is in the same class as metronidazole. Do not drink alcohol while you are using these medicines and for at least 72 hours after you stop taking the medication.1

Alcohol is also considered a CNS depressant. Some antibiotics, like metronidazole , may also lead to central nervous system side effects such as:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • confusion.

When alcohol is combined with antibiotics that also have a CNS depressant effect, additive effects may occur. These effects can be serious when driving, in the elderly, and in patients who may take other CNS depressant medications, such as opioid pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anxiety or seizure medications, among others.

Stomach problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain can be common with antibiotics, too. Consuming alcohol can worsen these stomach side effects.

Also Check: Best Antibiotic For Strep Throat

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Research since the early 1800s established the detrimental effects alcohol has on the body. More recent studies show how alcohol specifically weakens the immune system as its being metabolized. If your body is trying to fight an infection, drinking large amounts of alcohol can hamper the effectiveness of the immune response to infection. Responsible drinking reduces the impact on the immune system and should not interfere with most antibiotics. While the impact may be smaller or even negligible, many health professionals advise against drinking while fighting an infection.

Common Questions About Rehab

How Long After Taking Antibiotics Is It Safe To Drink

Always check what antibiotics youre on and if they have any adverse side-effects to alcohol.

Some may specify a time-frame where you should avoid drinking even after youve taken them.

For example you should avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours after finishing a prescribed course of metronidazole, and at least 72 hours after finishing a prescribed course of tinidazole.

With other antibiotics, there usually isnt any adverse side-effect if you drink but it makes sense to avoid alcohol until you have recovered.

Read Also: How Soon Should Antibiotics Work For Uti

Why You Shouldnt Skip Medications

Some people think that skipping a day or dose when having a drink is the right thing to do, and while not taking amoxicillin when you plan to drink will avoid many of the side effects this is a bad idea.

If you disrupt your medication schedule you may compromise the results of the course and either slow or impede healing and recovery. When it comes to long-term medications such as pain killers used to manage a chronic condition, or antidepressants, drinking moderately or irregularly may not have a huge impact.

Likewise missing one dose of long-term medication may cause disruption or temporary discomfort or regression, but when you disrupt short-term medication courses this can prevent them from achieving the desired results.

As such it is recommended that you wait until you have completed the full course of antibiotics before you resume drinking. In fact, the safest route is to cease drinking the day before you begin taking antibiotics and stop entirely until the day after you take your last dose.

This will ensure that no alcohol is in your system when you begin and that the majority of amoxicillin has been properly processed by your body before you begin drinking again.

Is someone you love struggling to moderate, reduce, or stop alcohol consumption? Do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor or a local alcohol addiction support group. There are many resources available for those who wish help.

Should You Avoid Alcohol While Taking Medications

Can I drink alcohol while taking antibiotics

Drinking alcohol while taking medications can be harmful. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, you are likely to be suffering from an illness that requires appropriate rest and treatment.

Antibiotics have been developed to fight specific bacterial cells, but they should only be taken when absolutely necessary and should only be taken as directed. If your doctor advises you to avoid alcohol, its best to follow their instructions. Not only can alcohol interact badly with some medications but it can interrupt your healing process.

Most antibiotics are prescribed on a short-term basis, and it is best to temporarily avoid alcohol until you are no longer taking your medication.

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Negative Interactions Between Alcohol And Antibiotics

Barring any rare medicine allergies or disorders, most antibiotics do not react dangerously with alcohol. In most cases, the alcohol may have no noticeable impact. Another common scenario involves the alcohol triggering or intensifying the side effects of whatever antibiotic youre taking. Several popular antibiotics list side effects that mirror those of alcohol and drinking, and drinking heavily may cause those symptoms to appear or intensify them.

How Alcohol Can Interfere With Medication

There are two main reasons why doctors advise patients not to drink with some medications.

Alcohol can have a sedative effect and, when combined with a medicine that also has a sedative effect , can result in extreme sleepiness or drowsiness that would impair a persons ability to drive or operate machinery or induce a very deep sleep and cause difficulty in waking.9

Alcohol and medicines can also interact in the way that they are absorbed and metabolised in the body.

It is possible that some medicines block the metabolisation of alcohol so that blood alcohol levels are higher than normal after consuming smaller amounts.

Heavy alcohol consumption can result in changes in liver function that mean medication may not be absorbed as well as it should and may mean the medication does not work properly or that serious side effects are more likely to be experienced.10

Individual differences in body weight, genetics and lifestyle, can also affect the way that medications may interact with alcohol.

Remember, if youre taking medication, always check with your doctor or a healthcare professional for their advice on whether you should drink alcohol and let them know if you experience negative effects from drinking while on medication.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Most Effective Antibiotic For A Uti

Can You Drink Wine While Taking Antibiotics Answers From
    Yes: Alcohol interacts with a few antibiotics such as Flagyl but can be taken while on most antibiotics if so desired. The alcohol should only be drunk in … Read More. 90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more.

Serious Heart And Abdominal Effects

Alcohol and Antibiotics

The antibiotics beloweven in topical forms like ointmentscan lead to quite serious heart and GI reactions if you take them with or near the same time as alcohol.

Here, were not just talking about the beverages you can grab from wine, beer, and spirits shops. Other alcohol-containing products like mouthwashes and cough syrups can cause severe reactions with these drugs too. Combined with alcohol, these antibiotics decrease your bodys alcohol tolerance and result in symptoms like:

  • Severe nausea and vomiting

  • Throbbing in the head and neck

  • Irregular and/or fast heart beat

  • Anxiety

  • Low blood pressure

Think: worst hangover ever! These symptoms can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

Be aware: Drinking alcohol with certain antifungal medicationsincluding azoles and benznidazole) and griseofulvincan also cause this reaction.

How does this reaction happen?

Health professionals call the above group of symptoms a disulfiram-like reaction. Why? Well, disulfiram is an anti-alcoholism drug that quickly causes this reaction when alcohol is consumed to discourage further drinking.

Normally, your liver breaks down alcohol by converting it first to acetaldehyde, which is toxic to the body, and then to acetate. Like disulfiram, the above antibiotics and antifungals, cause a buildup of acetaldehyde in the body, which lead to those nasty symptoms we talked about earlier.

Recommended Reading: How To Build Good Gut Bacteria After Antibiotics

What Happens If You Drink Alcohol While On Antibiotics

While it is possible to drink alcohol while on some antibiotics, including amoxicillin, it is generally not advised by most healthcare professionals.

Antibiotics carry the risk of side effects, such as headache, nausea, and dizziness, which can be worsened by drinking alcohol. These interaction effects are often also caused by alcohol use on their own.

With certain antibiotics, such as metronidazole and tinidazole, alcohol consumption should be strictly avoided.

It is generally best to refrain from drinking alcohol while suffering from an infection or feeling unwell, as alcohol will likely make you feel worse, regardless of how it interferes with the antibiotics efficacy.

Does Alcohol Affect Keflex

One of the first things to know about alcohol and Keflex is that they dont interact at with one another, at least not in terms of alcohol causing Keflex to be ineffective.

There is a myth that people tend to believe about antibiotics, and thats the fact that using alcohol while on them makes them ineffective. There are some antibiotics that people are absolutely warned against drinking on, including metronidazole and tinidazole. With these antibiotics when theyre combined with alcohol they can lead to breathing problems and heart issues. Keflex is not one of these antibiotics.

Does alcohol affect Keflex? Not in the sense that it wont work to treat your infection if you drink while on it.

With that being said, it doesnt mean that mixing alcohol and Keflex is a great idea.

First, some of the side effects of Keflex are similar to side effects from drinking, such as flushing, nausea, and vomiting, as well as headaches. While you can suffer these symptoms when taking this antibiotic on its own, if you mix alcohol and Keflex youre more likely to have negative side effects.

Youre increasing not only the risk of negative side effects when you combine alcohol and Keflex, but youre also increasing the chances of these side effects being more intense.

Theres just really no reason to mix alcohol and Keflex because there is the risk of heightened side effects.

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What Precautions Should You Take With Alcohol And Antibiotics

Remember to read warning labels on your medications, since they will usually contain information regarding whether you can take alcohol with the medication. If you are unsure about a certain medication, ask your doctor. They will tell you if an occasional drink can be OK. And if they say no, ask them how long you should wait to drink before or after taking the antibiotic.

You should ideally avoid any alcohol whenever you are sick, regardless of whether you are on antibiotics or not. Its important to keep yourself hydrated, and having alcohol can dehydrate you, interfere with your sleep, and delay the recovery process.

It’s Important To Avoid Drinking Alcohol On Antibiotics

Can I Drink Alcohol While Taking Antibiotics?

There are some antibiotics that are almost certain to cause strong, negative side effects when mixed with drinking alcohol, says Jessica Nouhavandi, PharmD, a pharmacist in Los Angeles, California, and co-founder of Honeybee Health, an online pharmacy.

According to Nouvahandi, antibiotics that have a particularly strong reaction with alcohol include:

  • Metronidazole is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial or parasitic infections in the vagina, stomach, liver, or brain.
  • Tinidazole is an antibiotic that is used to treat infections in the vagina and intestines.

When taking these antibiotics, you should stay away from liquor, wine, and beer and also avoid anything that contains alcohol, including cough syrup and mouthwash, Nouvhavandi says.

If you consume alcohol while taking these antibiotics, you will most likely experience strong side effects, such as:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate

If you do accidentally drink while taking antibiotics, your side effects will usually disappear within a few hours. However, if you are experiencing a severe reaction after taking antibiotics and drinking alcohol, seek medical attention from your doctor or head to urgent care.

Other common antibiotics that should not be mixed with alcohol, even though side effects may be less severe, include:

You can resume drinking alcohol once the antibiotic has cleared from your system, which is usually three days after the last dose.

Recommended Reading: Antibiotics Used To Treat Staph Infection

Dont Skip A Dose To Drink

If youre wondering if skipping a dose to drink alcohol is a good idea, think again. Skipping a dose wont actually protect you from the risks or adverse side effects of mixing alcohol and antibiotics, as it takes time for antibiotics to break down and leave your body. Instead, youre just disrupting your course of antibiotics and making them less effective without reducing your risks.

Dangerously High Blood Pressure

When taken with alcohol, a class of drugs known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors can result in dangerously high blood pressure, possibly leading to serious events like heart attacks. This class includes antidepressants and the popular antibiotic, linezolid .

How does this reaction happen?

MAOIs interfere with the breakdown of tyramine, a substance found in drinks like red wine, sherry, lagers and draught beers, as well as fermented foods. Even alcohol-free and low-alcohol beers can contain tyramine.

As a result, tyramine builds up in your body. When theres too much tyramine around, levels of hormones like adrenaline increase. Adrenaline is the same hormone that makes your heart rate go up in exciting or stressful situations. In large amounts, it can cause dangerous increases in blood pressure.

To avoid this reaction, dont drink alcoholic beverages for at least two weeks after you stop taking linezolid.

Read Also: Ear Nose And Throat Infection Antibiotics

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