Is it okay to drink alcohol while on antibiotics?
Simply put: It is never a good idea to consume alcohol with drugs and prescription medications. If you are unsure, please check with your doctor and your pharmacist. This is critical since many antibiotics will interact in very, negative, unpleasant, and even lethal ways with alcohol. Also, antibiotics can also react with other medications, vitamins and herbal supplements, and some foods. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to always check with a medical professional, when in doubt.
Are Some Antibiotics More Risky?
While you should steer clear of this practice with all antibiotics, the top two common 'antibacterial enemies', and the ones you should definitely NOT mix alcohol with antibiotic sare: Metronidazole (Flagyl) and Tinidazole (Fasigyn) that are typically prescribed for different types of bacterial infections. Such infections include but are not limited to: vaginal infections, sores and ulcers, gut and stomach infections, and bowel infections such as C difficile which is caused by bacteria that tend to thrive in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic).
Additionally and as previously mentioned, many other antibiotics can cause adverse effects when combined with alcohol. Examples include: Co-trimoxazole which isoften used to prevent and treat bacterial infections such as whooping cough; Trimethoprim; Sulfamethoxazole(brand name-Bactrim); the anti-tuberculosis drug, Cycloserine have been known to interact with alcohol , resulting in major episodes of dizziness, nausea and convulsions.
Although not frequently prescribed as others, Linezolid otherwise known as Zyvox used to treat very serious infections when no other can effectively treat such infections should not be combined with alcohol. Beer, sherry, wine and even certain foods such as yeast, very old cheeses, tonic wine containing meat extracts, and soy sauce contains the chemical Tyramine. This chemical raises the body's blood pressure when it interacts with linezolid.
So How Combining Antibiotics With Alcohol Does Affects The Body? Symptoms
For starters, consuming alcohol with especially Metronidazole and Tinidazole and although rare, Co-trimoxazole can interfere with the body's ability to break down alcohol. This then causes the formation of acetaldehyde: An extremely, toxic, and noxious chemical substance in the body that can cause headaches, blurred vision, flushing, heart palpitations, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, convulsions and vomiting.
This combination could also seriously impair the liver's ability to effectively filter or flush the body of toxins. In addition, violent episodes of diarrhea and vomiting while you are taking antibiotics to effectively treat your medical condition can also affect your body's absorption of the medication and of other medicines you might be taking. So again, when in doubt-see your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
When Is It Safe To Resume Alcohol Consumption
Ideally, you should try and avoid alcohol for approximately 72 hours after completing your dosages, since the medication could still interact with alcohol for hours following completion. Be safe. It is better than being sorry. If you were taking Metronidazole, try and avoid alcohol for at 24 hours, and at least 72 hours following your last dosage of Tinidazole. Although for many individuals, consuming alcohol in moderation with certain antibiotics is not a major health risk for them, it just makes sense, that if you are ill and are taking antibiotics or other medications that you should wait until after your recovery to drink alcohol. Remember, if you are consuming alcohol while taking medications, this could also cause forgetfulness and brain fog, which could cause you to forget the time you should actually take your antibiotics. This could result in you missing and skipping doses. It is not worth the chance, really.
Read, Read..And Re-Read Those Labels
Avoid the 'what-ifs.' While it is important to stay abreast and know how and when to take your antibiotics, remember you can never read too many labels! Always read the labels, directions, packaging and strength of prescription and over the counter medications very carefully, so you are aware of possible interactions between your antibiotic, other medications, supplements, and alcohol.
Take Care: Final Words Of Caution
Although generally speaking, the consumption of minimal amounts of alcohol while taking most antibiotics may not pose a health threat for everyone, please do bear in mind that we are all different. As such, there is no 'one size that fits all' treatment or assumption that should be applied as such. This is a very dangerous way of thinking. As always, play it safe, and communicate honestly with your doctor and other health care professionals, and wait to recover to raise that glass.
Still have something to ask?
Get help from other members!