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Fact versus Fiction: a Review of the Evidence behind Alcohol and Antibiotic Interactions PMC

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. May occur with some other cephalosporin antibiotics, check with your doctor or pharmacist. Disulfiram-like reaction which may include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headaches, flushing, or rarely more serious reactions. Check the inactive ingredient listing on the OTC “Drug Facts” label to determine if alcohol (also called ethanol) is present in the product, or you can always ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Why You Should Avoid Alcohol on Antibiotics

It is important to follow this advice closely and complete the entire treatment, even if you feel better. Sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim, isoniazid, and linezolid are also known to have negative interactions with alcohol, and you should avoid the combination. If, in searching for safety information about antibiotics, you’ve found an unhealthy pattern of drinking in your life or a loved one’s, there is help available. But if you’re taking doxycycline and don’t have these risks, you should be fine to have a drink or two without reducing the effectiveness of the antibiotic. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that’s used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including respiratory and skin infections. It’s also used to prevent malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that’s caused by a parasite.

Can You Mix Amoxicillin With Alcohol?

  1. Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat a range of bacterial infections.
  2. By Rosanna Sutherby, PharmDRosanna Sutherby, PharmD, is a freelance medical writer and community pharmacist with over 20 years of experience in medication review, counseling, and immunization.
  3. You should not drink alcohol if you take this type of medication.
  4. Frequent alcohol use can also weaken your immune system, making it easier to pick up contagious illnesses.
  5. Two authors observed higher rates of side effects in patients treated with metronidazole than with placebo (64, 65).

This can cause dangerous side effects or make them less effective at removing bacteria. Although modest alcohol use doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of most antibiotics, it can reduce your energy and delay how quickly you recover from illness. So, it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol until you finish your antibiotics and are feeling better. You may have read online that alcohol reduces the effectiveness of some antibiotics. If you’re healthy, moderate alcohol use shouldn’t affect how well an antibiotic works, notes Dr. Clayton.

Alcohol, Antibiotics, and Recovery Time

Many of the same considerations apply to antifungals used to treat fungal infections. Using alcohol can also impact your ability to heal and recover from illness. For example, using alcohol might make it more likely that you will get dehydrated, and it might interfere with your sleep, both of which may slow your healing.

While research about probiotics and antibiotics is still inconclusive, studies suggest that taking probiotics is a safe way to prevent antibiotic-related diarrhea. They can help to reduce some of the side effects of antibiotics, such as bloating and diarrhea. Schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician at the first sign of symptoms. They can find the right treatment and provide guidance to make the healing process as pleasant and safe as possible. Antibiotics have the potential to increase your sensitivity to light.

While robust data are lacking, recent studies have determined that alcohol may be used moderately and cautiously when taking tetracyclines. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. In rare cases, people may experience seizures with fluoroquinolone treatment. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published updated safety warnings on all fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole can affect the metabolism of folic acid in bacteria.

To our knowledge, there are no data available on the PK/PD or efficacy of ethionamide. To our knowledge, there are no data available on the PK/PD or efficacy of ethambutol. To our knowledge, there are no data available on the PK/PD or efficacy of rifamycins. To our knowledge, there are no data available on the PK/PD or efficacy of griseofulvin. To our knowledge, there are no data available on the PK/PD or efficacy of azoles. To our knowledge, there are no data available on the PK/PD or efficacy of oxazolidinone.

Depending on the type of antibiotic someone is taking, doctors may recommend limiting or avoiding alcohol intake. This article discusses the risks of mixing antibiotics and alcohol. It also explores the effects of alcohol on the immune system. Although some antibiotics can interact with alcohol, the risks understanding the dangers of alcohol are not the same for all types. Doctors will give different recommendations about a person’s alcohol intake depending on the type of antibiotic they prescribe. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products.

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 it’s 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 alcohol use disorder symptoms and causes (2-3 drinks or less per day) 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. However, some people may be able to safely drink alcohol in limited quantities while still on an antibiotic.

Inhibition of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) by the antibiotic may result in an increased concentration of acetaldehyde leading to an unpleasant response. If you need to avoid alcohol, check all of your food and medicine labels to be sure they don’t contain psychological dependence on alcohol: physiological addiction symptoms alcohol. Probiotics and prebiotics can also help to reduce the side effects of antibiotics. Also, some research indicates that foods fortified with high doses of calcium, such as some orange juices, can interfere with the absorption of certain antibiotics.

Two authors observed higher rates of side effects in patients treated with metronidazole than with placebo (64, 65). Other authors described different degrees of reactions attributed to a disulfiram-like effect within the study populations (50, 58, 60, 62, 66). If you’re wondering if skipping a dose to drink alcohol is a good idea, think again. Skipping a dose won’t 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, you’re just disrupting your course of antibiotics and making them less effective without reducing your risks.

If the label on your drug says not to drink alcohol during treatment, follow that advice. Listening to your doctor or pharmacist’s advice can help you avoid the effects of an alcohol-drug interaction. With other antibiotics, it’s always a good idea to abstain from alcohol, but the risks are somewhat less severe.

You are much more likely to have problems with impaired antibiotic effectiveness, slowed healing, or worsened side effects if you drink excessively. However, the effects of occasional light use of alcohol on the immune system are more nuanced. It may be that alcohol even enhances the immune response in some of these people compared to non-drinkers. However, it still may be a good idea to give your body a break from drinking while your body recovers from the infection. Another antibiotic, Zyvox (linezolid) can cause very elevated blood pressure in some people when combined with some kinds of alcohol.

What if you have an important event — like a bachelorette party or high school reunion — where you may want to have a drink? In most cases, Dr. Clayton says you should get nonalcoholic beverages instead (mocktails, anyone?), as you shouldn’t put off starting your antibiotic. Rarely, more severe reactions may include abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, heart failure, unconsciousness, convulsions, and even death. Alcohol appears to lead to slowed “gastric emptying” when combined with erythromycin ethylsuccinate. This may delay the absorption of the antibiotic into the bloodstream and lower the antibiotic effect.

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