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Mixing antibiotics and alcohol can be unsafe and pose serious health hazards. Side effects of mixing the two substances can range from mild to severe health concerns.
Side effects will vary depending on the type of antibiotic, amount of alcohol consumed, and other factors. Some antibiotics interact more negatively with alcohol than others.
Talking to your doctor about the risks of consuming alcohol while taking your antibiotics is important. You should also talk to them about the risk of using alcohol-containing products.
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Antibiotics fight bacterial infections by killing bacteria or preventing bacteria growth. Doctors typically prescribe antibiotics to treat various bacterial infections. These infections can range from infected wounds to sexually transmitted diseases.
Countless types of antibiotics can kill or prevent the growth of various bacteria. Since enzymes in the liver metabolize antibiotics, you shouldn’t mix any of them with alcohol.
Mixing alcohol and antibiotics can cause enzyme changes in the liver. The enzyme changes can affect how drugs break down in your body.
Moderate alcohol consumption doesn’t typically lessen most antibiotics’ effectiveness. However, alcohol can affect how your body absorbs the antibiotics if you consume them together.
Likewise, drinking alcohol can reduce your energy levels and weaken your overall immune system. This can prevent your body’s ability to heal. It can also prolong your recovery, even with antibiotics.
You may be prescribed another course of antibiotics to overcome your illness or infection if you don’t get better during your first course. Taking too many antibiotics can also build up antibiotic resistance, causing complications if you need them again down the line.
There are two types of alcohol-medication interactions:
Taking antibiotics and consuming alcoholic beverages can have similar side effects. These include:
Combining antibiotics and alcohol can compound these side effects, making them even worse.
You should never mix alcohol with the following common antibiotics:
Metronidazole (commonly known as Flagyl) treats:
Mixing alcohol and Metronidazole can cause:
Tinidazole (commonly known as Tindamax) is used to treat:
Mixing alcohol and Tinidazole can cause:
Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim (commonly known by the brand name Bactrim) is a combination antibiotic used to treat:
Mixing alcohol with Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim can cause:
Cefoperazone (Cefobid) treats infections like
Mixing alcohol with Cefoperazone can result in:
Linezolid (Zyvox) is used to treat skin infections and pneumonia. Mixing alcohol and Linezolid can cause a hypertensive crisis. This is when your blood pressure spikes to dangerous levels.
Cefotetan (Cefotan) treats infections of the:
Mixing Cefotetan and alcohol can cause:
Doxycycline is in the tetracycline class of antibiotics that can treat pneumonia. It can also treat the following infections:
Mixing Doxycycline and alcohol is ill-advised because it can cause:
Erythromycin is used to treat bacterial infections of the respiratory tract such as:
It can also treat:
Mixing alcohol and Erythromycin can delay the drug’s absorption into the bloodstream. As such, Erythromycin won’t work as effectively.
Disulfiram (Antabuse) creates such an adverse reaction with alcohol that it’s used as an alcohol addiction treatment.
Taking disulfiram with alcohol can induce unpleasant side effects. These include nausea and vomiting, headaches, stomach pain, heart palpitations, and liver damage.
Other common antibiotics that should not be mixed with alcohol include:
You should generally stay away from alcohol while taking antibiotics. Drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics can intensify both substances' side effects.
Some antibiotics have less dangerous interactions with alcohol. Nonetheless, it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption during the treatment course.
Factors such as your sleep adequacy, food intake, hydration levels, and more may all influence alcohol’s impact. This impact can affect how alcohol and antibiotics mix. Even one alcoholic drink, like a glass of red wine, could be one too many.
Mixing alcohol and antibiotics can increase the risk of adverse reactions. Common side effects of mixing the two substances include:
It’s best to avoid alcohol and stick to non-alcoholic drinks.
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