Can you drink alcohol while taking antibiotics?

Can you drink alcohol while taking antibioticsCan you drink alcohol while taking antibiotics? Let’s be clear. The package insert in many antibiotics almost always includes a warning that alcohol should not be taken with the specific medication. The reason is not always entirely clear, since, only some active ingredients are able to actually interfere with alcohol.

For example, erythromycin is an antibiotic that may increase the absorption of alcohol in the intestine by accelerating gastric emptying. In addition, people who take isoniazid (an antituberculous) should refrain from taking alcohol. This active ingredient can cause liver damage, already engaged in the disposal of the ethanol molecules taken.

Other antibiotics with which alcohol interacts are metronidazol, tinidazole and the association sulfamethoxazol/trimethoprim. These active ingredients, however, are rarely used only for particular infections of a gastrointestinal or urinary nature. But in any case it is important to know the existence of such an interaction.

Antibiotics are not all same

Alcohol should be completely avoided if you are taking antibiotics with widespread molecules such as metronidazole, tinidazole, and the active ingredient of the drug Trimonase, used in the treatment of urogenital infections. These drugs interfere with the metabolism of ethanol, and this involves the accumulation of acetaldehyde.

Responsible for several symptoms that characterize the so-called “hangover”, such as vomiting, nausea or even syncope. Moreover, antibiotics containing metronidazole and tinidazole, as mentioned, are used in a limited number of cases, especially in the treatment of gastrointestinal and urinary disorders.

The treatment of tuberculosis also requires the use of a some type of antibiotic (flucloxacillin or isoniazid), which if associated with alcohol , would give rise to problems, especially in the liver by overloading it.


Although for other antibiotics, there is no specific warning regarding intake with alcohol. It is always better to avoid taking them together for the reasons that we are going to explain. Then, to the question: Can you drink alcohol while taking antibiotics? The answer is “better not”.

In the case of bacterial infections that cause a significant rise in body temperature. Acohol can amplify the feeling of nausea and mental confusion typical of these conditions.

In addition, alcohol induced vasodilation. Interferes with the body’s attempts to increase body temperature to slow down the spread of the infection. The kidneys will be forced by alcohol to lose more fluid, thus increasing the risk of dehydration and the deep muscle pain.

Alcohol and antibiotics: what is the problems?

Alcohol does not interfere with the effectiveness of antibiotics. Moreover, antibiotics such as doxycycline and tetracycline are hampered in their pharmacological effect if taken with alcohol.

If alcohol is consumed during tetracycline therapy, the antibiotic may have “difficulty” treating viral or bacterial infections. A longer period of treatment with the antibiotic is therefore, necessary. Sometime is a problem first for the possible occurrence of adverse reactions and secondly for the establishment of mechanisms of bacterial resistance.

The liver

The liver is perhaps one of the most stressed organ when it comes to the intake of antibiotic and alcohol. It is the place where they are metabolized not only drugs but also all ( potentially) toxic substances that we ingest. In this specific case, both alcohol and antibiotics exploit the same resources as the liver.

Inevitably causing an “overload” of work for the organ that will have to dispose of alcohol and antibiotics at the same time. This condition, especially if prolonged over time, can cause irreparable damage to the proper functioning of the liver.  With serious consequences for the general health of the subject.

Therefore, the advice is to always inform the doctor of your intake of antibiotic and alcohol.  So as to provide elements that can put him in a position to understand if can be there any side effects. However, as a general advice it is always desirable not to take alcohol, regardless of the drug therapy you are following.

Alcohol does not always fight infections

In most cases, the correlation between alcohol and antibiotics should not lead to complications. At least to date, there are no studies to prove this. Nor is there any evidence of a direct link to deaths.

On the other hand, some doctors fear that these beliefs will lead patients to neglect their care, so as not to give up a “glass of wine” . However, it does not seem a good idea to abuse alcohol just when you are affected by an infection. Alcohol could aggravate the symptoms, this applies regardless of the antibiotic we take.

It might seem strange, since in many movies when a person is injured it could happen that he is poured over the Whisky. But in this case we are talking only about its “consumption” as a drink, not all the procedures that should be followed, so as to prevent infections.


Alcohol, boosts enhances side effects and alters the functioning of a large number of drugs. For example, regular drinkers dispose of not only the ingested ethanol more quickly, but also the drugs that are processed in the liver by the same enzymatic system that metabolizes the ethanol.

In case of simultaneous intake of alcohol and antibiotics, the risk is an overdose of antibiotics. Because part of the liver detoxifying system is engaged in the disposal of ethyl alcohol. The most risks from taking alcohol with antibiotics, is that act directly on the nervous system.

Such as drugs for DEPRESSION, psychiatric diseases, ANXIETY, epilepsy or INSOMNIA. In fact, even when taken in small doses, alcohol can increase the sedative effects produced by these drugs (reduced level of “vigilance”, impairment of judgment and criticism, severe mood changes and so on).