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Metronidazole and Alcohol Reaction

Metronidazole and Alcohol Reaction

Even though there is no concrete evidence about the side effects of taking metronidazole and consuming alcohol, it is advisable to avoid such a situation. Consumption of both these agents could possibly cause some severe consequences in the human body. Let us take a look at them in this HealthHearty article.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: May 6, 2018
Metronidazole is an antibiotic drug, often sold under the name Flagyl that is most commonly prescribed by doctors in case of bacterial infections. It is, however, advised that one should not consume alcohol while on this medication. Knowing about the possible reaction between metronidazole and alcohol can prevent a lot of future complications from arising.

There is a widespread myth which claims that this combination can be extremely dangerous, but the truth is that there is no concrete evidence to back these medical claims. Before going into details about the effects, let us take a look at what exactly metronidazole is.
What is Metronidazole?
Everybody is well aware of the harmful effects of excessive consumption of alcohol. The havoc it can wreak on your body. Let us now understand the same about metronidazole, and how we should avoid it. In simple terms, it is an antibiotic medicine that is prescribed by doctors from time to time. It is very effective in dealing against protozoa and anaerobic bacteria in the body. It is helpful in treating skin infections, vaginal infections, stomach infections, etc.Thus, any bacterial infection or protozoal infection in the body can be treated with the help of this medication,

But the concern arises when an individual who is on this medication, starts consuming alcohol. Even though there is no proof to back the dangers of this reaction, there has to be a reason why almost all doctors strongly advise against this combination.

As mentioned earlier, consumption of metronidazole in combination with alcohol is most likely to occur when a patient is on a dose of this drug and then drinks any form of alcohol. Ideally, the situation should be avoided completely.
Associated Side Effects
It is important to know that when alcohol and metronidazole combine, they produce effects in the body that are similar to the effects produced by a drug known as 'Disulfiram'. This drug creates adverse reactions in the body, and is thus, prescribed to patients or individuals who wish to quit alcohol but are unsuccessful. Alcohol is broken down in the liver by an enzyme called cytochrome P450 2C9. Some drugs are also broken down by the 2C9 enzyme. Depending on how often and how much alcohol you consume, this enzyme may affect the metabolization of drugs, thus causing some side effects in the body. The most common side effects of this drug are as follows.
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Risk of seizures
  • Possibility of acquiring Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C
  • Headaches
  • Disruption of the digestive system
  • Skin flushing
  • Chest pain
All these side effects indicate that the reactions caused are not very pleasant in nature, and they can cause some serious complications in the long run. It is best to avoid mixing the two in order to avoid going through these symptoms and side effects. Here are some of the most common drugs and medications that contain metronidazole. Knowing about its presence in these medications will allow you to avoid their consumption followed closely by alcohol.
  • Flagyl
  • Vandazole
  • MetroGel
  • MetroCream
  • MetroLotion
  • Noritate
  • MetroGel-Vaginal
If you have been prescribed any of these medication, you must consult your doctor about the possible dangers and side effects that this interaction could cause in your body.
In spite of all this, the fact remains that there is still no undeniable proof of this combination causing side effects in people. Wait for at least 72 hours before touching alcohol. Nonetheless, it is always better to be cautious against this reaction, because prevention is always better than cure.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject. In case of any serious illness, please seek medical help immediately.