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Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol while on Antibiotics?

Is it Safe to Drink Alcohol while on Antibiotics?

If you are on an antibiotic medication, it is recommended that you must not consume alcohol, as antibiotics and alcohol are a dangerous combination. In this HealthHearty article, we discuss the adverse effects this combination can wreak on our health.
Aarti R
"That's the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen."
― Charles Bukowski

Almost all the drugs interact with alcohol, and many of these include over-the-counter drugs and those prescribed by the doctor. Antibiotics are antibacterial and include all the antifungal and antiviral drugs. When a doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, you must let him know whether you consume alcohol on a daily basis. Although not all antibiotics interact with alcohol; however, these medications have certain side effects when consumed with alcohol.

Why Do We Take Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are formulated to kill microorganisms, but sometimes a few of them have certain side effects. Also, the dosage must be taken as per the doctor's prescription. Otherwise, you may build up immunity for that particular antibiotic. Alcohol affects antibiotics in a negative manner. Therefore, it is advisable that you consult your doctor about the safety of consuming them together.

Effect of Alcohol on Antibiotics
  • Antibiotics are excreted from the body in various ways. Usually, they are broken down by liver and excreted through the urine and feces. A patient's medical history is noted down by the doctor, so as to determine for how much time they will be retained in the body. Alcohol is responsible for the way in which the body breaks down these medicines.
  • Many cases are found in which the alcohol is responsible for excess excretion of antibiotics. However, many times, the opposite is observed. The drugs are retained in the body instead of being excreted. This means that alcohol and antibiotics interact with each other to reduce the effect of latter on the body.
  • Cases of illness and dizziness are registered with those who have combined the two. It is often seen that older patients suffer from some side-effects when they consume alcohol with antibiotics. Some of the common side effects are dizziness, upset stomach, and sickness. 
One more important point that is to be mentioned is that some mouthwashes and medicines for cold and cough contain alcohol. So, care must be taken while consuming them. There is a certain class of antibiotics that react with alcohol. Here are some of them:
  • Metronidazole
  • Tinidazole
  • Furazolidone (Furoxone)
  • Griseofulvin (Grisactin)
  • Antimalarial Quinacrine (Atabrine)
It is recommended that before taking antibiotics, let your doctor know about your alcohol consumption.