antibiotics and alcohol

Alcohol & Antibiotics

Antibiotics and alcohol are two very common substances, but have you ever stopped to think about what might happen when you mix the two?

An antibiotic is a drug that is designed to kill bacteria in the body. They are broken down in the liver and eventually excreted from the body.

Alcohol can affect different antibiotics in different ways. It may cause the drugs to be excreted more quickly or it could cause them to take longer to break down in the bloodstream.

Since both alcohol and antibiotics are broken down in the liver, too much of both can cause a system overload. This is especially dangerous for anyone with Hepatitis B or C.

Both antibiotics and alcohol travel through the bloodstream. Long-term alcohol abuse can cause the effect of antibiotics to diminish, resulting in a higher dosage being needed.

The enzymes that are activated by alcohol consumption can actually turn the drugs into a toxic chemical cocktail in your blood. This could result in damage to your liver and other internal organs.

things to know:

Of course the sensible thing is to stop drinking alcohol whilst taking the medication. However if you can’t or won’t stop then there are several types of antibiotics that you may want to avoid mixing with alcohol:

  • Metronidazole
  • Tinidazole
  • furazolidone (Furoxone)
  • griseofulvin (Grisactin)
  • Erythromycin
  • Linezolid
  • Co-trimoxazole
  • and Antimalarial Quinacrine (Atabrine).

These can result in headache, irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, breathlessness, nausea, and vomiting. Some of the regular side effects of taking antibiotics like Erythromycin (such as, dizziness, drowsiness, or upset stomach) are increased when you throw alcohol into the mix.

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However, combining alcohol and antibiotics can lower your energy level, which in turn causes you to take longer in recovering. If you are trying to fight off an infection, the best thing you can do is create the ideal environment in your body to aid your recovery.

If you have to choose between antibiotics and alcohol, perhaps the one that fights bacteria might be a better choice. It’s always best to check with your doctor if you have any concerns about how a certain medication might affect you.

Of course, if you are consuming alcohol excessively (more than 2-3 units per day) then you will be experiencing the problems that go along with alcoholism. All the antibiotics in the world cannot help you with that problem I’m afraid.