Alcohol is an intoxicating drink and apart from the expected health problems, it is likely to cause more damage when consumed along with medication. To be precise, excess alcohol consumption results in liver damage, brain damage, and a myriad other life-threatening health issues. Medical experts state that alcohol consumption should be limited to 3-4 units and 2-3 units per day for men and women, respectively.
Some people consume alcohol even while they are on a certain type of medication. With common antibiotics, this combination may not cause any problems; however, with certain medication, it is likely to cause serious complications. One such medication is metronidazole. The paragraphs below elaborate on this antibiotic and the side effects that may be caused when it is consumed with alcohol.
- It is basically an anti-infective medicine. It is predominantly used to treat infections caused by anaerobic bacteria and protozoa.
- Some of the diseses include bacterial infections, like bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and anaerobic bacterial infections, like pneumonia, bone and joint infections, brain abscess, and a few other diseases.
- It is used as a treatment for protozoal infections, along with other illnesses, like Crohn's disease, dental infections, rosacea, and fungal infections.
- Studies have also shown that this drug has been effective in preventing preterm birth related to bacterial vaginosis.
Interaction Between Alcohol and Metronidazole
- Alcohol primarily has ethanol, and when it is combined with metronidazole, it is observed to have effects similar to that of a drug called disulfiram.
- Disulfiram is used to treat chronic alcoholism by creating extreme sensitivity to alcohol.
- The side effects of this combination are:
- Flushing of skin
- Accelerated heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- All said and done, there is no concrete evidences to say that these effects actually happen.
- It is opined by experts that alcohol should be avoided by patients undergoing metronidazole treatment for at least 2 to 3 days after completion of the systematic therapy.
- For example, if you take flagyl and alcohol together, it is said to have effects similar to an antabuse-alcohol reaction.
- The reaction starts off with breaking down of ethanol in a couple of steps to acetaldehyde, and then, the formation of acetic acid.
- When one imbibes antabuse, it gets to work and prevents or obstructs the second step, i.e., it does not let acetaldehyde break down into acetic acid.
- This leads to rise in the acetaldehyde levels in the blood. This increased acetaldehyde in turn results in vomiting, nausea, and other complications.
All these complications and medical conditions notwithstanding, recent studies have now clearly proved that alcohol-metronidazole have serious health repercussions; it is better to be careful before you think of having them together. In case you have suffered or are suffering from these following problems after the consumption of the two, please consult a doctor.
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Allergy to food, dyes or preservatives.
- Liver Cirrhosis
- Increased susceptibility to Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
Needless to say, alcoholism and metronidazole do not go well together. Hence, if an individual consumes a high amount of alcohol and has to take the drug, it is recommended that he or she talks to a doctor first.
Metronidazole, Alcohol, and Pregnancy
- It is of utmost importance that if you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, you need to consult a health expert before popping the mteronidazole pill.
- In addition, if you are breast feeding, you need to be careful about metronidazole consumption.
- Alcohol is not at all advisable during pregnancy or breast feeding, as it could have an impact on the baby's health. This combination is a big no-no.
- A few case studies have, in fact, reported that the drug may lead to miscarriage, though no birth defects have been detected.
To conclude, understand that metronidazole when consumed with alcohol may not always lead to the above side effects or health consequences. Yet, even if it has not been very specifically proved, it is good to stay away from consuming this duo together. They are not exactly compatible, just as they appear not to be very drastically hazardous. Either way, the bottom line is to be careful and consult an expert before taking these two in succession.