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Fluconazole and Alcohol

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What is Fluconazole (Diflucan)?

Fluconazole is an FDA-approved medication that belongs to a class of drugs called azole antifungals.

Doctors like gynecologists and general practitioners prescribe fluconazole to treat various fungal infections of the: 

  • Vagina
  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Lungs
  • Urinary tract
  • Abdomen
  • Other organs

Fluconazole is frequently used to treat vaginal candidiasis, commonly known as a vaginal yeast infection.

Vaginal candidiasis is a fungal infection that is caused by a yeast called Candida. Candida lives naturally in your mouth, throat, gut, and vagina, as well as on your skin. It’s normal.

However, sometimes Candida can multiply too quickly in specific environments, causing it to grow out of control. 

The result can be a yeast infection that is associated with uncomfortable symptoms like:

  • Vaginal itching
  • Vaginal soreness
  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (usually a thick white, cloudy, clumpy discharge)

Vaginal candidiasis is a common infection that is not sexually transmitted, though sexual intercourse can contribute to a yeast infection by disrupting the vaginal environment.

Women are also more likely to develop a yeast infection if they:

  • Are pregnant
  • Using hormonal contraceptives (i.e., birth control)
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Have recently taken antibiotics that kill off both harmful and healthy (good and bad) bacteria that stabilize the vaginal pH balance

Fluconazole is typically an effective treatment for most vaginal yeast infections. If you are taking fluconazole and your symptoms don’t improve or get worse, consult your doctor.

Fluconazole is not effective against bacterial infections that require treatment with antibiotics such as rifampin or erythromycin.

Other Fungal Infections Fluconazole Treats

In addition to vaginal yeast infections, fluconazole treats the following:

  • Oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis
  • Peritonitis
  • Candidemia
  • Disseminated candidiasis
  • Pneumonia
  • Cryptococcal meningitis

Doctors may also prescribe fluconazole to ward off fungal infections in patients who are being treated with chemotherapy or radiation before bone marrow transplants.

Fluconazole is available as a tablet or suspension to be taken orally. You may see fluconazole marketed under a different name such as Diflucan. 

There are also other medications available. Ketoconazole, for example, is used to treat various fungal infections. 

Talk to your health care professional for medical advice on the best option for you.

Summary

Fluconazole is an antifungal medication most commonly used in the treatment of vaginal candidiasis. It comes in oral forms. The length of treatment depends on the severity of your infection.

How Does Fluconazole Work?

Fluconazole works by stopping an enzyme responsible for the growth of the fungal cell membrane. 

While it is typically effective in fighting Candida species and Cryptococcus species, it is not effective in treating all strains of fungal infections. These infections may require alternate antifungal therapy.

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Side Effects of Fluconazole

Fluconazole is generally well tolerated but adverse effects have been reported.  

Some of the common side effects of fluconazole include, but are not limited to:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin rash
  • Skin inflammation
  • Skin itching
  • Unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth

Speak to your doctor for medical advice if side effects become bothersome.

Call 911 and seek medical attention immediately if you have difficulty breathing or swelling of the mouth or throat. This may indicate a severe allergic reaction to the medication.

Summary

Fluconazole doesn't treat all yeast infections. Your doctor will recommend the right antifungal for your condition. If you're prescribed fluconazole, be mindful of side effects. Tell your doctor if they become difficult to tolerate.

Can You Mix Fluconazole and Alcohol?

Fluconazole may interact with certain drugs, including antibiotics, blood thinners, sedatives, diuretics, and antiseizure drugs.

There are no known interactions between fluconazole and alcohol. Still, you should be mindful of drinking alcohol in moderation.

Drinking alcohol can change the type and amount of microorganisms in the intestine. It has been reported that people with chronic alcohol use show a large increase in intestinal Candida

Certain foods and drinks that affect the yeast levels in your body may make Candida infections worse.

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Side Effects & Risks of Mixing Fluconazole With Alcohol

Alcohol is linked to a number of illnesses and diseases such as liver damage. It can also weaken the body’s immune defenses. 

While alcohol may not interact directly with fluconazole, it can cause your body to heal slower, make you feel worse, or exacerbate drug side effects such as headache, upset stomach, and drowsiness.

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Treatment for Fluconazole & Alcohol Abuse

If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol use disorder, reach out for medical help. Treatment is available.

Some treatment options are listed below:  

  • An inpatient rehab treatment facility is a live-in center that offers access to resources and support from medical personnel and trained therapists.
  • An outpatient rehab center offers the same support as an inpatient facility without residency.
  • An alternative addiction treatment program might include holistic medications, spiritual retreats, religious practices, etc.
  • A detox program can help wean you off of your alcohol or substance addiction in a slow but safe and steady way.
  • A group therapy treatment center offers guided conversations and psychological practices. They offer the support and inspiration of others in similar situations with the help of trained professionals.
  • Traditional talk therapy can help you identify and unpack any conscious and subconscious triggers of alcohol or substance use, as well as resolve repressed memories and emotions that may be at the root of your addiction.

Summary

Alcohol has been shown to cause yeast overgrowth, worsening candida infections. It is advised to limit alcohol while taking fluconazole.

Common Questions and Answers

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Fluconazole and alcohol:

Does alcohol make Fluconazole less effective?

There are no known interactions with alcohol and fluconazole, given the drug information available. 

However, you should not drink alcohol if you are feeling sick or uncomfortable while fighting off a fungal infection because alcohol can have adverse effects that may make you feel worse.

Alcohol, as with some other foods and beverages, can affect your body’s yeast infection. 

Does alcohol make a yeast infection worse?

Alcohol may make a yeast infection worse because it affects your body’s level of yeast growth. Alcohol may inhibit your body’s efforts to control yeast overgrowth.

What else should I avoid while taking Fluconazole?

Fluconazole may interact with medications such as certain antibiotics, blood thinners, sedatives, diuretics, and antiseizure drugs. 

It’s important to talk to your doctor about any other medications you are taking before taking fluconazole.

Updated on January 5, 2022
7 sources cited
  1. Fungi in the gut linked to alcoholic liver disease. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/fungi-gut-linked-alcoholic-liver-disease. Published June 20, 2017.
  2. “Fluconazole (Diflucan): Side Effects, Dosages, Treatment, Interactions, Warnings.” RxList, RxList, 14 Apr. 2017, www.rxlist.com/consumer_fluconazole_diflucan/drugs-condition.htm
  3. “Fluconazole: MedlinePlus Drug Information.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a690002.html.
  4. Govindarajan, Ameish. “Fluconazole.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 21 Apr. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537158/
  5. “Side Effects of Diflucan (Fluconazole), Warnings, Uses.” RxList, RxList, 26 Oct. 2020, www.rxlist.com/diflucan-side-effects-drug-center.htm
  6. “Vaginal Candidiasis.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Dec. 2019, www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html
  7. “Fluconazole.” Fluconazole - Drug Usage Statistics, ClinCalc DrugStats Database, 2018, clincalc.com/DrugStats/Drugs/Fluconazole.

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